The Vampire

Charles Meryon French

Not on view

Meryon was plagued by mental illness and spent the last years of his brief life in an asylum. The dark, gothic tenor that characterizes many of his prints has been interpreted as symptomatic of his tumultuous life. This print, taken from his album Eaux-fortes sur Paris, shows a grotesque gargoyle from Notre-Dame Cathedral against an aerial view of the expanding French capital. Surrounded by a flock of darkly colored birds, the sculpture takes on a menacing, monstrous appearance, especially as it dominates the right half of the composition. Meryon added a verse of his own creation to this later state of the print, describing the figure as an "insatiable vampire, eternal lust" who "covets its food in the great city." The artist continued to revise the plate over the course of a decade, producing a total of ten states of the etching before his untimely death in 1868.

The Vampire, Charles Meryon (French, 1821–1868), Etching in brown ink on green laid paper; fifth state of ten

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