SLODTZ, Paul-Ambroise
(b. 1702, Paris, d. 1758, Paris)

The Dead Icarus

Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Icarus is a brilliant piece of drama, in one way an academically respectable study of the nude, in another highly picturesque. The almost pretty handling of the long feathers of the wings and the loops of ribbon is counteracted by the starkly dramatic pose of the broken body, whose flotsam-like character is conveyed by its being supported on the crest of a wave. It is raised only to be about to fall again; and already the water draws away in foam at the lower right. While remaining elegant, the piece yet manages to convey a sense of shock; in its effect it is not so much Rococo as romantic.