Marcius-Simons: Where Shakespeare and Wagner Meet

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 9 January 2012 | 11:07:00 pm

“...this is the link that unites this work with The Ring, like the Hall of the Grail in the Twilight scene unites the Ring with [illegible] from Parsifal.”

I found this over at the very interesting Collation Blog. To continue reading please click the link at the bottom

Back in August, I posted about a unique artists’ book  from 1995. Today, I’d like to showcase an example from the other end of the twentieth century, an artists’ book created in 1908 by American painter Pinckney Marcius-Simons (1867–1909). In his altered copy of a French edition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream printed in 1886, watercolor and gouache (opaque watercolor) cover every page from edge-to-edge. Even the vellum binding is completely painted over.

Painted pages by Pinkney Marcius-Simons

Although born in New York, Marcius-Simons spent much of his life in Europe, particularly in Bayreuth, Germany, home of the Richard Wagner Festival. As a Symbolist artist, he was fascinated by Wagner’s notion of uniting music, literature, and the visual arts into a single experience. In a sense, that is what Marcius-Simons tried to do in this book, which contains bits of music notation as well as words and pictures, and is signed and dated “P. Marcius-Simons, Bayreuth, 1908.” The last page, a blank end leaf,  shows a crowned figure (presumably Titania, Queen of the Fairies) with an inscription at the bottom that references Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Parsifal:

It reads as follows, “ceci est le lien qui unit cette oeuvre au Ring comme le temple du gral dans le tableau du Crepuscule unit le Ring avec [illegible] du Parsifal.” In other words, “this is the link that unites this work with The Ring, like the Hall of the Grail in the Twilight scene unites the Ring with [illegible] from Parsifal.” The ink is maddeningly the same shade as some of the strokes of watercolor. Can anyone make out the illegible bit?