Oil on canvas
Framed: 123.5 x 139.5 x 14 cm (48 5/8 x 54 15/16 x 5 1/2 in.); Unframed: 86.4 x 103.3 cm (34 x 40 11/16 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1038
As he will eventually return to reality, Tannhäuser, the singer in the lower left, is painted in dark tones. In contrast, his vision into another realm is evoked by the soft muted hues of Venus and her court.
Tannhäuser, the male figure seated on the left, does not seem fully engaged in this merry scene. Among pale bodies and pastel hues, he alone is cast in shadow. The Wagner opera that inspired the painting centers on a struggle between profane and sacred love, and the tension between them appears embodied in the brooding Tannhäuser.
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