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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rules of the Salon de la Rose+Croix

In the last post I gave a manifesto by the eccentric French Catholic occultist, Josephin Peladan, calling for the creation of a Salon dedicated to the exhibition of beauty through Symbolist art with a specifically Christian, Catholic identity.  In this post I shall give the twenty-seven rules that artists of the Salon de la Rose+Croix were obligated to abide by.  Some of these rules are mundane and financial, given for business purposes; others (the interesting ones) contain aesthetic, philosophical, and theological principles.  The source as with the last post is Robert Pincus-Witten's dissertation Occult Symbolism in France:  Josephin Peladan and the Salons de la Rose+Croix, Appendix II.

The order of the Rose+Croix du Temple is now enlarged to encompass the Rose+Croix esthetique in order to restore the cult of the IDEAL in all its splendor, with TRADITION as its base and BEAUTY as its means.

The Salon de la Rose+Croix wants to ruin realism, reform Latin taste and create a school of idealist art.

For greater clarity, here are the rejected subjects, no matter how well executed, even if perfectly:

1 - History painting, prosaic and from a textbook, like Delaroche; [yet why would we want to part with the magnificent - and, one might point out, quite idealized and iconic - productions of Jacques-Louis David?]
2 - Patriotic and military painting, such as by Meissonnier, Neuville, Detaille;

3 - All represetantions of contemporary, private or public life;

4 - The portrait - except if it is not dateable by costume and achieves style [one would presume that Delacroix's magnificent portrait of Chopin would pass the test of acceptable art, for example - especially given Peladan's praise of Delacroix in the manifesto] 
5 - All rustic scenes;

6 - All landscape, except those composed in the manner of Poussin[May we include those of Caspar David Friedrich?]
7 - Seascape; sailors;  [Hospodi pomilui!  I need my Caspar David Friedrich!]

8 - All humorous things;

9 - Merely picturesque orientalism; [i.e. kitsch]

10 - All domestic animals and those relating to sport;

 11 - Flowers, still life, fruits, accessories and other exercises that painters ordinarily have the effrontery to exhibit.
The Order favors first the Catholic Ideal and Mysticism.  After Legend, Myth, Allegory, the Dream, the Paraphrase of great poetry and finally all Lyricism, the Order prefers work which has a mural-like character, as beign of superior essence.

For greater clarification, here are the subjects which will be welcome, even if the execution is imperfect:

1 - Catholic Dogma from Margharitone to Andrea Sacchi;
2 - The interpretations of oriental theogonies except those of the yellow races; [racist idiot - the Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese traditions are my favorites]
3 -  Allegory, be it expressive like "Modesty and Vanity", be it decorative like a work by Puvis de Chavannes; [may we include the allegories of Bouguereau, and exclude the hideous ones of the Neo-Classical period?]
4 - The nude made sublime, the nude in the style of Primaticcio, Coreggio, or the expressive head in the manner of Leonardo and of Michelangelo.  [The nude is more sublime, in my opinion, in Jules Lefebvre and in Bouguereau, in Ingres and Cabanel, in Gauguin]
The same rule applies to sculpture.  Ionic harmony, Gothic subtlety, and the intesnity of the Renaissance is equally acceptable.

Rejected:  Historical, patriotic, contemporary and picturesque sculpture, that is sculpture which only depicts the body in movement without expressing the soul.  No bust will be accepted except by special permission. 

The Salon de la Rose+Croix admits all forms of drawing from simple lead-pencil studies to cartoons for fresco and stained glass.

Architecture:  since this art was killed in 1789, only restorations or projects for fairy-tale palaces are acceptable.  [I have seen many beautiful buildings built recently - churches in the Gothic and Byzantine and Russian styles, homes in the Tudor and Victorian styles, mansions in the old castle and "fairy-tale palace" style, and modern skyscrapers and libraries which are stunning in their modernity.]

The theocratic nature of the Order of the R+C in no way entails the artists; their individuality remains outside the character of the Order.

They are only the Invited, and consequently are in no way in solidarity with the Order from a doctrinal point of view.

The artist who produces a work conforming to the program of the R+C will be accepted even though his earlier work was of a different or realist nature, as the Order bases its judgments on what it is presented with and not with the development of a talent.

The artist who lives abroad and who wishes to exhibit with the R+C must send a photograph, on the basis of which his work will be accepted or rejected.

Kindly indicated dimensions of the work.

As the Order, despite its solicitude, may be ignorant of the existence of idealist artists, it is permissible to whosoever believes that he has created a work conforming to the program of the R+C, to present it on the first of March to the Archonte of Fine Arts at the Gallery Durand-Ruel, 11, rue Le Peletier.  He will be informed of an admission or a refusal on the seventh, in which case the sender will see to it to remove his work before the ninth.

Artists who might be prevented from framing their pictures may send their canvasses on stretchers.

For the Order of the Rose+Croix the word "foreign" has no meaning.

This Salon assumes an international character in the highest degree.

It will officially open the 10th of March, 1892, and will terminate the 10th of April.

From the 25th of February to the third of March, the artists invited to exhibit who live in Paris wil receive the visit of the Sar and the Archonte to whom they will remit a signed notice stating name, first name, subject of work, dimensions and selling price.

The invited artists who live in the provinces or abroad must send their works between the first and fifth of March (at the very latest), carriage paid, to the Archonte of the Salon de la Rose+Croix, Gallery Durand Ruel, 11, rue Le Peletier.

The work must bear a label on which is clearly written the name of the artist and subject of work.

In the case of loss or damage the Order declines all financial responsibility.

Works must be picked up in the three days following the closing of the exhibition.

From the 8th of March, 1892, beginning at 11 o'clock, the critics will be admitted on presentation of special cards which will already have been given them.

On the same day, at 8 p.m., a reception will be held for the Ambassadors and for the Minister of Public Instruction and the Fine Arts.

The 9th of March, exhibition by named invitation.

The 10th, Opening Day.  (Entry fee:  20 francs.)

The following days the entry fee will be 2 francs from 10 a.m. until noon, 1 franc until 6 p.m. - except Sunday which is 50 centimes.

Paris school children, accompanied by their teacher will be admitted with no charge on Thursday afternoons.

There will be five kinds of cards:
the white card of the critic
the red card of exhibition (by name)
the permanent green card (exhibitors)
the blue card, good for only one visit
the yellow card, good for the whole month and permiting one to escort a lady (price: 5 Louis)

A Solemn Mass of the Holy Ghost will be celebrated on the 10th of March at 10 o'clock in the morning at the church of Saint Germain l'Auxerrois.

The  Prelude, the Last Supper of the Grail, the Good Friday Spell and the Finale of the Redemption from Parsifal by the super-human Wagner will be played.

The Mass will be preceded by the three fanfares of the Order composed by Erik Satie for harp and trumpet.

All participants will hold reserved seats.  [This is a bad idea - the Mass is not a concert, and should not have reserved seats.]

P.S.  Following Magical law, no work by a woman will ever be exhibited or executed by the Order.  [I challenge the truth of this "Magical law", if one considers what C. S. Lewis called the "Deeper magic from before the dawn of time".]


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