Félicien Rops ( Namur 1833 - Essonnes 1898 )

Belgian printmaker and painter. Rops settled in Paris in 1874 , and rapidly established himself as an illustrator of esoteric and erotic literature. He was admired by many of the leading symbolist writers, including J. K. Huysmans and, most importantly, Baudelaire , who was responsible for launching him into the Parisian art world. Rops's art developed from Symbolism towards Surrealism in his metamorphic depictions of obscene and blasphemous monsters. He also explored the darker aspects of Satanism and the occult. His best works are the illustrations he produced for Baudelaire's Fleurs du mal, and Joséphin Péladan's Le Vice suprême, and a series of etchings, Les Sataniques, which exploit his talent for the depiction of contemporary evil and his hostility to women to devastating effect, as in Pornokrates ( 1896 ; etching). Hailed as the leader of ‘Dark Symbolism’, he rejected the lyrical aspects of the movement in favour of deliberately shocking images and juxtapositions, perverse, erotic, and bizarre.