Friday, August 21, 2009

Pope Pius X

Antoon van Welie (1866-1956)
Portrait of Pope Pius X 1905
The Museum of St John Lateran, Rome

The Nijmegen artist Antoon van Welie (1866-1956) earned the epithet “the last decadent painter” with his portraits of society figures throughout Europe. He painted, among others, the Parisian cabaret singer Yvette Guilbert, the actress Sarah Bernhardt, the Dutch poet Willem Kloos and Popes Benedict XV and Pius X.

He was also a familiar figure in the Dutch worlds of art and literature.

Van Welie, a pious Christian, suffered from the ambivalence of his reputation as a serious artist and a decadent