Henri Fantin-Latour

Tannhauser: Venusberg

1876
"Few puzzle any more in the way generations of Wagner lovers and fearers did about what Wagner's operas mean. Now Wagner is just enjoyed as a drug." (Susan Sontag, 1987). Richard Wagner's opera "Tannhäuser" was produced in Paris in the spring of 1861. It so divided public opinion that the composer cancelled the fourth performance for which Fantin had tickets. The first version of this lithograph, printed in 1862, was likely based upon published descriptions of the staging and this second version closely follows the first. The scene illustrates Act I set in the realm of Venus as Tannhäuser awakens from his reverie to reject her world of sensuality.
Title
Tannhauser: Venusberg
Date
1876
Medium
Print
Materials
transfer lithograph with scraping and stump on chine collé
Dimensions
46.8 x 63.7 cm; image: 40.6 x 50.1 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 1979
Accession number
23362