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Abstract: Ancient poets for a modern cause: Matisse's Poèmes de Charles d'Orléans and Picasso's Vingt Poèmes de Góngora give hope!

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   Twelfth Humanities Graduate Research Conference, Curtin University, Perth. October 2011. Abstract Ancient poets for a modern cause: Matisse’s  Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans   and Picasso’s Vingt Poèmes de Góngora  give hope! The world had changed in post-World War II Europe and devastation lay all around. Two rivals Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse reached deep into their nationalistic history to engender a sense of security and stability. Matisse illustrating the 14th century poems of French born Charles de Valois, duc d’Orléans and Picasso illustratin g those of 16th century Spanish born Luis de Góngora y Argote thus propelling these poets into the context of modernist literature. I will argue that the livre d'artiste of Matisse's Poèmes de Charles d'Orléans and Picasso's Vingt Poèmes de Góngora introduced a text-image dynamic that had complementary aesthetics. My proposition of the congruency of the ornamental imagery, decorations, hand written text and choice of poets will be demonstrated through my emerging four aesthetic theory. I will show similarities in the interpretative aesthetic of the text and image in both works and will explore both the visual aesthetic and the architectural modus of these illustrated books. I will also comment on the sensitive treatment of the poetry by both artists in not allowing the image to overpower the text but to add to the " joyfulness " of the work. These two illustrated books set the foundation for many similar renditions in the years ahead.
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