The Blue Beard Tableau: Fatima Enters the Forbidden Closet; What She Sees There; Disposition of the Bodies (Invisible to the Spectators)
Loosely connected to the idea of literary illustration, these engravings portray how a novelty tableau vivant based on the then popular blood-curdling story of Bluebeard and his wives might have been staged. The doggerel verse by Theodore Cook reproduced on the page provides an updated rendition of the original 1697 fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Bluebeard offers the keys to his castle to his wife, warning her not to open a particular door. Unable to control her curiosity, she unlocks the door to find the six bodies of her predecessors, who had also opened the forbidden door. (Perrault’s version ends happily with the seventh wife escaping.) The popularity of the story in Homer’s time was spurred by Jacques Offenbach’s 1866 operetta Barbe-Bleue, a burlesque of the horrific tale.
- Artist: Winslow Homer, American, 1836-1910
- Medium: Wood engraving
- Dates: 1868
- Dimensions: Image (a): 4 1/2 x 4 5/8 in. (11.4 x 11.7 cm) Image (b): 4 x 9 1/4 in. (10.2 x 23.5 cm) Image (c): 4 3/8 x 4 5/8 in. (11.1 x 11.7 cm) Sheet: 16 1/8 x 11 in. (41 x 27.9 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 42.5 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: b: Signed lower left: "WH"; c: signed lower left corner of curtain: "WH"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 1998.105.118a-c
- Credit Line: Gift of Harvey Isbitts
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). The Blue Beard Tableau: Fatima Enters the Forbidden Closet; What She Sees There; Disposition of the Bodies (Invisible to the Spectators), 1868. Wood engraving, Image (a): 4 1/2 x 4 5/8 in. (11.4 x 11.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.118a-c
- Record Completeness: Good (69%)