Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922
Bryn Mawr College
Deanery.231 (Deanery Number)
Fine and Visual Arts; Prints; Etchings
Charles Meryon (1821-1868) was born in Paris, the son of a travelling English physician and a dancer at a Parisian opera house. After spending a few years in the French navy, he returned to Paris and began painting lessons. Meryon was born color-blind, however, a condition which disrupted his painting career and led him to study etching at the studio of Alexandre Bléry.
Meryon also suffered from mental illness throughout his life. His familiarity with poverty and melancholy shaped his artistic vision, and over the course of four years (1850-1854) he produced a series of twenty-two haunting and imaginative views of the streets, buildings, and bridges of Paris called "Eaux-fortes sur Paris."
"Le Stryge," or The Vampire, depicts a gargoyle on the Notre Dame Cathedral overlooking the streets of Paris. Standing prominently in the background is the Tour Saint-Jacques, the tower of a sixteenth-century church that was destroyed shortly after the French Revolution. This etching hung in the Blue Room of the Deanery along with other prints from the same series and etchings of the American artist, James McNeill Whistler.
Prints made from an etched printing plate, which is a metal plate on which a design is made by coating the plate with an acid-resistant substance, creating a design in the coating, and then exposing the plate to acid, which etches the plate where the metal is exposed. For designs incised directly into a copper plate using a burin or graver, use "engravings (prints)."