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Theatre & Decadence

Improbable Walks, Season 5, Episode 3: In this episode, we visit the "New Athens", a newly-restored neighborhood once inhabited by theatre stars, courtesans, and painters. In the photos below, first, Mme Lacaisse, madame of the brothel at 2 rue de Londres (photo by Albert Brichaut c 1901, in the Carnavalet Collection.) Next, a portrait of Catherine-Joséphine Duchesnois by François Gérard (courtesy of the Musée Carnavalet) - and if Stendhal thought her ugly, either this was her best angle, or the painter really liked her! And her outfit is a theatre costume, but it's perfect for the New Athens theme. The next portrait with the red hat is Gérard's 1814 portrait of Mademoiselle Mars. Maybe this wasn't her best angle (though I do like her dress.) My photo of the rue de la Tour des Dames shows you Mars' lovely house, which is a youth hostel today. The last row of images shows you the main atelier in the museum/ house of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. For a virtual visit, watch the video here. (If you don't understand French, don't worry, just skip ahead to minute 5 in the video, and for 3 minutes you'll be able to view Moreau's private rooms, his paintings & the exhibition space.) And here is Moreau's moody 1872 self-portrait.

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Poetry in London

This poem was inspired by the painting Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton. This recording is from a reading I did with poet Kate Noakes, in London, England, last year. There was snow on the streets


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