Le Réveil helléniste et les goûts culturels bourgeois: Le poème 'Vénus de Milo' de Leconte de Lisle et son arrière-pays esthétique

From the eighteenth century, interest in Hellenism had been stimulated by early travel accounts, and by researches into Greek religion. In France, archaeological findings and enthusiasm for Greek literature induced critical speculations which culminated with the placing in the Louvre of the Vénus de Milo. Public fervour extended beyond pictorial and plastic arts into bourgeois tastes. Victor de Laprade’s poem "Psyché" based on a theme found in decorative arts expressed this taste. Approaches to phenomena of Hellenic culture were subsumed into poetry about Greek female statues, notably Leconte de Lisle’s own "Vénus de Milo" of 1846. Free of the political echoes of the poet’s earlier poetry, this poem expresses admiration for the artistic integrity of the statue and converts visual experience into linguistic. Critical discussions, public taste and learned inquiry are transformed into creativity. (In French) (AJE)

Earl, Anthony.
Volume 2007 Spring-Summer; 35(3-4): 558-74.