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.


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




The Veil is Parted .

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