NADAR

Sarah Bernhardt

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The artist

Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, was born on 6th April 1820 in Paris. He begins his career as an illustrator of caricatures for subversive papers like Charivari. In 1853 he produced Nadar Pantheon, a large lithography representing 300 celebrities. The expectation of the revelation of the inner nature of the person showed through in his photographs. He then made photographical portrait an aesthetic genre.  ... See more See less

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About the artwork

This photograph taken in 1883 represents the actress Sarah Bernhardt. Nadar chooses to photograph her in her Pierrot outfit that she wears for the pantomime Pierrot the Assassin. The famous French theatre actress was born on 22nd October 1844 in Paris. She is nicknamed the Voice of Gold (Victor Hugo?s expression) or the Divine but also the Scandalous. Considered by many to be one of the greatest French tragic actresses of the 19th century, she is the first actress to have had successful tours in the five continents, Jean Cocteau inventing the expression sacred monster for her. Nadar opts for wide framing. Sarah Bernhardt takes the pose before a neutral background with frontal lighting. The Pierrot character seems forlorn and vulnerable in this set-up. Sarah Bernhardt, hands in her pockets, adopts a nonchalant attitude which suits the androgynous character that she interprets. She ?performs? for photography like she performs on stage.YellowKorner and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux are delighted to publish a photograph by Nadar. Due to its historic nature, this photograph is not numbered or offered as a limited edition. Digital copy, YellowKorner publication 1st July 2010. © RMN / Médiathèque de l'architecture et du Patrimoine / Nadar worksh

Artwork details

Date photograph was taken

23 July 2015

Artwork subject

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