Max Ernst, "Une semaine de bonté" — the Original Collages

1

2

3

4

5



drawing
Sylvain Goudemare and Antoine-France ClaudeIllustration from Les Mémoires de Monsieur Claude [The Memoirs of Mr. Claude]. Original for The Lion de Belfort 28
Structure and Division of Une semaine de bonté

The only text present in Une semaine de bonté is that of the titles at the beginning of each section. To link the days of the week, Ernst uses a subtitle to associate each one with an 'element' – a sort of shared symbol with the images to follow - and an 'example' – a figure or theme that will be repeated in subsequent pages. Only in the last book are the days accompanied by selected quotations from Marcel Schwob, Jean Hans Arp, André Breton, Paul Eluard and others.

Picking up similar motifs and details page after page, even within the same chapter gives the novel cohesion. A visible separation into paragraphs was therefore possible without text. Masks (a lion's head, a bird's head, etc.) and elements (water, dragon, cockerel, etc.) identify the days of the week. The fact that each book is associated with a colour establishes a further distinction. Finally the seven symbolic elements introduced as subtitles – 'La boue' (Mud), 'L'eau' (Water), 'Le feu' (Fire), 'Le sang' (Blood), 'Le noir' (Darkness), 'La vue' (Sight) and 'L'inconnu' (The Unknown) – provide another means of structuring the book.




drawing
Max ErnstThe Lion of Belfort 28© Photo Peter Ertl. © ADAGP, Paris 2009
First Book
Sunday
Element: La boue (Mud),
Example: Le lion de Belfort (The Lion of Belfort)


Ernst moved away from the chronology of Genesis by starting the week on Sunday, which he plunges into an orgy of violence, blasphemy and death. Similarly, the associated element, 'La Boue' – primeval mud, der Urschlam – is in complete contrast with the Creator's day of rest.
This chapter moves through widely varying environments in order to study the relationship between the sexes. Persecution, theft, seduction, torture, punishment and death dominate. The man with a lion's head, a symbol of power, is a recurrent figure. Decked out with medals, decoration and even a Sacré Coeur, this hybrid creature incarnates, in turn, social, public and religious authority.

drawing
Max ErnstWater 26© Photo Peter Ertl. © ADAGP, Paris 2009
Second Book
Monday
Element: L'eau (Water)
Example: L'eau


The violence of man in the first section gives way to the force of nature. Water is the main theme. It destroys bridges, floods streets in Paris, penetrates bedrooms and apartments, and carries many human beings away with it. Here, Woman is queen.

1

2

3

4

5


Enlarge font size Reduce font size Tip a friend Print
Facebook
Google+DailymotionYouTubeTwitter