Victor Hugo, Louis Boulanger, Francisco de Goya: amitiés, affinités, influences

Goya's influence on French imagination is evident in the œuvre of Louis Boulanger, painter and favorite illustrator of the Romantic writers. As early as 1828, Boulanger, a close friend and life-long admirer of Victor Hugo, contributed several vignettes, frontispieces and page illustrations to works by the poet. One picture in particular, though inspired by Hugo's poem "Les Fantômes" shows the overwhelming presence of Goya: Boulanger, contrary to his usual, faithful transposition of the written word into its visual image, here supplants Hugo's lines with reminiscences from Goya's Caprichos. While the poem, almost a tender elegy, laments the untimely death of a young girl, "au sortir d'un bal," its illustration becomes the setting for a gothic horror tale, in which details of several "caprichos," in particular no. 59, "Y aun no se van," are recognizable. Boulanger, cannot, any more than Gautier and Baudelaire after him, ignore the haunting imagery of this plate: its subject – spectral beings caught under a tombal slab, its composition – the sharp diagonal formed by this slab, and even some of its details – the group of terrorized women in the background, are overimposed upon the original, literary, source of inspiration, Hugo's poem. (In French) (IHL)

Lipschutz, Ilse Hempel
Volume 1975-1976 Fall-Winter; 4(1-2): 8-23.