Sade, Attacking the Sun  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sade, Attacking the Sun (2014-15, Sade. Attaquer le soleil") is an exhibition held at the Musee d'Orsay on the legacy of Marquis de Sade.

The exhibition was curated by Annie Le Brun and Laurence des Cars and explores the influence Sade exerted over artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Edgar Degas, Francis Bacon, Ingres and Pablo Picasso.

It includes works such as Scene of War in the Middle Ages by Degas, Death of Sardanapalus by Eugene Delacroix and Picasso’s The Rape of the Sabine Women.

The sub-title of the exhibition is derived from The 120 Days of Sodom, voiced by Curval:

"How many times, damn it, have I not desired that one could attack the sun, deprive the universe of it, or use it to set fire to the world, those would be crimes, and not these little faults we devote ourselves to, that do little more than transform in the course of a year a dozen creatures into lumps of earth."

In a different translation:

'"There are", said Curval,"but two or three crimes to perform in this world, and they, once done, there's no more to be said; all the rest is inferior, you cease any more to feel. Ah, how many times, by God, have I not longed to be able to assail the sun, snatch it out of the universe, make a general darkness, or use that star to burn the world! oh that would be a crime, oh yes, and not a little misdemeanor such as are all the ones we perform who are limited in a whole year's time to metamorphosing a dozen creatures into lumps of clay."' --p364, complete Grove Press edition 1967

French original:

" Combien de fois, sacredieu, n'ai-je pas désiré qu'on pût attaquer le soleil, en priver l'univers, ou s'en servir pour embraser le monde? Ce serait des crimes cela, et non pas les petits écarts où nous nous livrons, qui se bornent à métamorphoser au bout de l'an une douzaine de créatures en mottes de terre."

See also

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