The Popular Story of Blue Beard


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Advanced Search. Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. In , the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts. Loosely connected to the idea of literary illustration, these engravings portray how a novelty tableau vivant based on the then popular blood-curdling story of Bluebeard and his wives might have been staged.

Blue Beard

The doggerel verse by Theodore Cook reproduced on the page provides an updated rendition of the original fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Bluebeard offers the keys to his castle to his wife, warning her not to open a particular door. Unable to control her curiosity, she unlocks the door to find the six bodies of her predecessors, who had also opened the forbidden door.

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Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work.

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  • The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. Bluebeard also informed his wife that if she used the scrollwork key to open the underground room, she would meet with his wrath.

    Of course, his young wife promised she would obey. She then invited her sister Anne and some friends to the castle for a party.

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    However, after her sister and guests arrived, the temptation of knowing what was in the underground room was so strong, the young wife decided she must know what was in the room and snuck away from the party. She went to the underground room, put the key in the lock, and threw open the door. The room was dark and when she lit the candle, she was horrified to discover a stack of skulls, several blackened corpses, and blood everywhere.

    In fact, she was so shocked, she dropped the scrollwork key in the blood, grabbed the key and fled the room. Once upstairs and away from the horror, she discovered that key was stained with blood.

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    The young wife tried everything to remove the blood, but to no avail, no matter what she did the blood remained. So, she finally told her sister Anne what she had done, and she and Anne decided they must escape the next morning.

    Unfortunately, before they could escape, Bluebeard unexpectedly returned home and discovered the bloody key. He roared, threatened to kill his wife, and ordered her to the underground room. Hoping to delay, she begged him to allow her one last prayer with her sister Anne.

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    The Popular Story of Blue Beard by Charles Perrault

    Then they forced him to the ground and killed him. Thus, as with all fairy tales, there was a happy ending. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Rais did not kill his wife or have bodies on his property, but he supposedly confessed to brutally murdering a number of children. However, today, some people believe that he was no murderer but a victim of an ecclesiastic plot or an act of revenge by the Catholic Church. Rais was arrested, condemned to be hanged on 26 October It was accompanied by music written by the German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach.

    The Popular Story of Blue Beard The Popular Story of Blue Beard
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    The Popular Story of Blue Beard The Popular Story of Blue Beard
    The Popular Story of Blue Beard The Popular Story of Blue Beard
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    The Popular Story of Blue Beard The Popular Story of Blue Beard
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