Le lit défait by Eugene Delacroix
Réunion des musées nationaux
I was intrigued to read some time ago a tale concerning Delacroix's youthful work, The Unmade Bed, which I have never come across elsewhere.
As Sacha Guitry tells it, he had his sights set on purchasing the painting when it came up at auction. He fully intended to do his utmost to acquire the work, until he was dissuaded by a friend in-the-know who explained that no one had been able to keep the painting, and if Guitry were to buy it, he would surely get rid of it in a month's time. Five times already, the friend explained, the watercolor had changed owners in recent years. The reason? Hidden in the tousled folds of the bed's crumpled sheets - wherein lies all the painting's considerable charm - appears a head of Medusa. 'Once you have noticed it, you won't be able to look at anything else,' claimed the expert. Guitry heeded his friend's advice and did not even bid on the painting. He realised that, very quickly, such a feature would become an obsession and that he would no longer be able to relish the sensuous composition with his eyes returning over and over to that one irresistible form.
It took me some time to find the head. Now I see at least two.