The Mysterious Dreamworld of Leonor Fini

I am cannibalizing an old website of mine; The Mysterious Domain. It was a blog of my inspirations. Now I put all of those on here at Gothic Faery Tales. Leonore Fini was a magical artist that has inspired me for ages. Please enjoy her work!

The Mysterious Dreamworld of Leonor Fini

I first came across this picture in a book about woman’s mysteries published in the mid 1970’s. The minute I saw it, I wanted a Moon Goddess costume too. I have since had few.

When I saw this image the flanking skeleton women were not there. Whoever placed them in the frame has identified Fini’s Moon Goddess as Hekate, of the dark side of the moon. Or perhaps it is a pun on her name, Fini, meaning The End.

Leonor Fini paints dreams. Her elegant canvases are filled with sleepwalkers, ghosts, mostly women and girls with deep secrets. Their eyes filled with wonder, they gaze out at you as if daring you to enter their Mysterious Domain. The atmosphere is feminine, fashionable, laden with  erotic undercurrents, magical glamor, presented in soft, alluring colors that cloak her disturbing visions of the unconscious with innocence.

Cat Woman

It has been said about her that Leonor Fini is the only artist to paint women without apology. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (many times resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations. Men are often portrayed as lithe figures who are under the protection of her females. The sphinx and cats play major parts in her paintings, as does the theme of ‘the double’. She was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. She lived with many cats; up to a total of 23 at one time. The illness of one of her cats could send her into a deep depression.

A Portrait with her cat.

Mysteries

Womens Alchemy

Fini often plays with the triune nature of womens’ mysteries. Women are the holders of hidden knowledge. Close to nature, the realm of the subconscious is familiar. It has no need for explanation; signs are potent and say it all.

Women are vessels, are the openers of locked doors. Sensing already that what is inside is potent, creative, magnetic, she is entitled to the key. It is part of a what a woman is to be deeply effected by what is hidden away and that, being seen, retains its mystery.

The silence of the visual art is the perfect expression for these mysteries.

Biography: What is Allowed to be Told

I stole from Wikipedia again…..bad! Very bad! But you get  references to all these famous artists and places of interest and stuff. I will have more of my own to say further on.

Leonor Fini (August 30, 1908, Buenos Aires, Argentina – January 18, 1996, Paris, France)

She was born in Buenos Aires to an Italian mother and an Argentine father. Her mother left her father before Leonor’s first birthday and returned to Triest, Italy with her child. In an effort to foil kidnap attempts by her father, Fini was disguised as a boy whenever she left her house until the age of five.

lready a dramatic life. The stuff of Opera! And then off to Paris in the 1930’s. How exciting!

After leaving Trieste for Milan at the age of 17, she relocated to Paris in either 1931 or 1932. There, she became acquainted with, among many others, Paul Eluard,   Max Ernst. Georges Battail, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Picasso, Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues, and Salvador Dalí. She traveled Europe by car with Mandiargues and Cartier-Bresson where she was photographed nude in a swimming pool by Cartier-Bresson. The photograph of Fini sold in 2007 for $305,000 – the highest price paid at auction for one of his works to that date.

She painted portraits of Jean Genet, Anna Magnani, Jacques Audiberti, Alida Valli, Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer) and Suzanne Flon as well as many other celebrities and wealthy visitors to Paris. While working for Elsa Schiaparelli she designed the flacon for the perfume, “Shocking”, which became the top selling perfume for the House of Schiaparelli. She designed costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, including the first ballet performed by Roland Petit’s Ballet de Paris, “Les Demoiselles de la nuit”, featuring a young Margot Fonteyn. This was a payment of gratitude for Fini’s having been instrumental in finding the funding for the new ballet company. She also designed the costumes for two films, Renato Castellani’s Romeo and Juliet (1954) and John Huston’s A Walk with Love and Death (1968), which starred 18 year old Anjelica Huston and Moshe Dayan’s son, Assaf.

She once said, “A woman should live with two men; one more a lover and the other more a friend.” She then proceeded to do so. Stanislao Lepri, an Italian diplomat when she met him, left the diplomatic corp to live with her and painted. Approximately five years later Konstanty Jele?ski, a Polish writer and journalist (i.a. from Kultura) joined them.

In the 1970s, she wrote three novels, Rogomelec, Moumour, Contes pour enfants velu and Oneiropompe. Her friends included Jean Cocteau, Giorgio de Chirico, and Alberto Moravia, Fabrizio Clerci and most of the other artists and writers inhabiting or visiting Paris. She illustrated many works by the great authors and poets, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire and Shakespeare, as well as texts by new writers. She was very generous with her illustrations and donated many drawings to writers to help them get published. She is, perhaps, best known for her graphic illustrations for Histoire d’O.

A biographical song about Leonor Fini’s life is featured on Welsh artist Katell Keineg’s    1997 second album, Jet.

Fallen Angels

Is the Angel in awe of the woman? Does it envy her mortal beauty? Or is the angel that fell for mortal woman and seeded the Divine Spark in the human race?

Strange Magics

There is something of the grave about these images. Fate playing at Cat’s Cradle. Pulling the strings. And then, the empty winding sheet. By their looks on their faces, perhaps someone has risen from the dead.

What is the Mystery? Red Vision

Fear

Virginity

Fini

The Veil is Parted .

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Salome: The Seventh Queen: 13: Slither

Salome raced back to her serving maids.
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The hyenas shrieked and the wheat began to ruffle as the invisible pack of wild dogs came after her. Aaliyah and Etana turned around frantically calling Salome’s name in all directions, their voices drowned out by the music and the cries and the barking of the hyenas.

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Something cracked like the sound  of bones snapping. Salome was buffeted by gusts of strong wind that blew her cloak up over her face.

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An eerie voice floated on the wind, a woman’s voice, calling.

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“ Life, life, life, life…”

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The hyenas laughed and the wind carried the sounds like a whirlwind around the Princess and her maids. Salome pulled her cloak out of her eyes and watched as the woman in the field turned and walked to the left, stopped, smiled at Salome and walked on again. She was followed by an inky black shadow that slithered over the wheat sheaves like a snake.

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“ We must follow her,” said Salome. “Come! We are guided out of this place.”

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“Mistress! I can’t touch the casque,“ cried Aaliyah. “It burns me and oh! He cries so!”

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Salome went to where the casque was laid upon the ground, glowing golden as if the sun had fallen into the field of aurum. There were lilies too, Salome swore that there were lilies white as death standing among the wheat shafts, around the Prophet’s little house. Loud dark sobs echoed  mournfully inside of it. When Salome opened the lid the eyes of Prophet looked up at her, blazing with holy fire.

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“Back! Daughter of Babylon! Come not near the chosen of the Lord. Thy mother hath filled the earth with the wine of her iniquities, and the cry of her sinning hath come up even to the ears of God.”

Salome froze. Had her prayer been fulfilled? The sight of the Prophet speaking through the gates of death was as if a very Angel had descended, a  Seraph from behind the very throne of God. Her eyes swimming with tears, Salome reached for her beloved Prophet’s head. “Oh how I love you, Jokanaan. For me you have come back to life! Oh, how powerful is love that it may conquer death! I know you have come for me, Jokanaan. I am very grateful you have come to me.”

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“Back, daughter of Sodom! Touch me not. Profane not the temple of the Lord God. Ah! The wanton one! The harlot! Ah! the daughter of Babylon with her golden eyes and her gilded eyelids! Thus saith the Lord God, Let there come up against her a multitude of men. Let the people take stones and stone her . . . ”

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“Singing! They are singing!” Aaliyah cried looking up from her cowering. “It is Chorus of the Angels of the Lord. The Prophet summons the powers of God most high. Can you hear the music of God, Princess Salome?”

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“Mistress! The guide is gone far before us. If we do not follow we shall surely be lost,” Etana shouted pointing into the distance.

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“Give me the casquet, Aaliyah. I will carry the head of Jokanaan,“ Salome said moving the trembling Aaliyah aside. “Now I have you my beloved Jonakanaan. You are with me now. Now. Oh how your eyes do shine—-they shine like pattens of bright silver fallen from the hand of the Queen of Syria into the well of the Holy Sanctuary. Thine eyes burn like torches in a tapestry of Tyre. They shine like the breath of dragons in the black caverns of Egypt. Speak to me again.”

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“Mistress, we must not stay,” cried Etana. “Surely if we stay we shall be lost.”

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“Yes, Princess Salome. Listen to Etana. It is unwise to stay. The path to the Fifth Gate is being shown and will not be shown much longer.”

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Salome leaned in to kiss the lips of Jokanaan. He spat at her! She recoiled like a cat.

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“Back! daughter of Babylon! By woman came evil into the world. Speak not to me. I will not listen to thee. I listen but to the voice of the Lord God.”

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The golden casquet did burn Salome’s flesh as she closed the the Prophet’s rage inside, but she didn’t care. Rather she reveled in this small discomfort for the sake of her love. Even though she could not bear his cries, that screamed and pounded the sides of the casque so that she could hardly hold it, she embraced it as she would her lover, and endured.

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“You shall come back to life” she murmured to herself. “You shall come back to life for me, Jokanaan, for I desire nothing on the earth more than you. There is nothing in the world more beautiful than you.”

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The  woman moving through the field had left a ribbon of dark slime along the ground. Salome followed it, all the while in a light trance, dreaming of her beloved’s ivory brow. Suddenly a vision of the woman’s face appeared to Salome’s mind’s eye: skin pale and waxy as a calla lily, hair like a cloud of purple dye, and a mouth so red, it seemed to drip with blood.

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The music died down to a thin wail as the woman, now slim as a snake, slithered through the Fifth Gate.
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“Princess, who was that?” Etana asked. “She had something about her like Herod’s Queen.”

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Salome turned to her Maidservant and raise an eyebrow. “It is not possible.”

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Aaliyah sighed a low, echoing sigh. “I do not think we should follow any more. Perhaps it is a trap.”

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“Again!” Salome said impatiently. “Always!” she gave Aaliyah a hard look. “Go back then, if you must.”

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Aaliyah gazed at her feet and blushed for shame.

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