Gabriele d'Annunzio, the poet in exile

Gabriele d'Annunzio, the poet in exile

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Title: Gabriele d'Annunzio, the poet in exile.

Author : BROOKS Romaine Goddard, known as Romaine (1874 - 1970)

Creation date : 1912

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 116 - Width 95

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Sainte-Croix Museum website

Contact copyright: © Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved website

Picture reference: 33-000399-01 / JP4P

Gabriele d'Annunzio, the poet in exile.

© Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / All rights reserved

Publication date: October 2010

Historical context

The cursed poet

Gabriele D’Annunzio was born in 1863 in Pescara, a small town in southern Italy. He then left Italy for France and represented himself, following the most illustrious writers, as a cursed poet forced into "exile".

Image Analysis

Romanticism and contemporaneity

This portrait is the work of American artist Romaine Brooks, very fashionable in the elegant Paris where D’Annunzio lived. A great friend of the famous dandy Robert de Montesquiou, she invites D’Annunzio, pursued by his creditors and mistresses, to take refuge in a villa she rents in Arcachon. It was there that in 1912 she painted the great portrait of the poet in front of the ocean. Shown alone, from the front, elegantly dressed but without affectation, D’Annunzio seems lost in a deep reverie, marked by melancholy and a certain anguish. The sobriety of the palette - shades of gray, black and white for the most part - is the hallmark of Romaine Brooks, whose austerity was quite original in these rather exuberant pre-war years.

This simplicity, even this severity makes the poet's presence all the more imposing, immense in the solitude of the sky and the sea. If the romantic heritage seems to inspire the choice of dark colors and a solitary representation of the artist in front of the elements, the sobriety of the line and the realism given to the expression of the face make this painting an eminently contemporary work.


Harbinger of war

The simplicity and the sense of loneliness that emanate from this portrait contrast surprisingly with the swirling life of pleasures led by the author of The Child of Pleasure (1889). However, the poet will always refer to these years of "exile" in the harsh Landes as a healthy retirement. Realism or foreboding, Romaine Brooks has impressed the poet's gaze with infinite gravity: he already seems to glimpse the wave of war so close, which gives the work a singular omen. It is indeed difficult not to imagine here the squadron commander that Dnunzio would become two years later, now asserting heroism as the only antidote to the anguish of existing.

  • dandyism
  • portrait
  • exile
  • poetry
  • Poet
  • Annunzio (Gabriele d ')
  • Poet


Françoise WERNER, Romaine Brooks, Paris, Plon, 1990.

To cite this article

Hermine VIDEAU, "Gabriele d'Annunzio, the poet in exile"

Video: Gabriele DAnnunzio: Lecture by Jonathan Bowden