The Dream City, Paul V. Galvin 
Digital History Collection
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  SPIRIDON'S PICTURES - The galleries of Italy in the Art Palace were situated in the West Pavilion, and if we entered that annex from the south on the way from the buildings of the lake States, we came at once on the oil paintings which are here portrayed. Over the doorway into the next gallery was the black figure at the left called "Sappho," and on the same west wall next in order, was "Follette," seen on our right. They were painted by I. Spiridon, of Rome. In their essence they are Parisian. They deify folly; they celebrate the so-called Parisienne, the woman of no virtue, the companion of Bohemians and students, the philosophic saint of materialism, the poor girl who is supposed to "live while she lives." The world, in the masterpiece of "Sappho," by Alphonse Daudet, has a perfect description of this Parisienne, old in sin, but capable of throwing a spell on the young Provencal who goes to the masked ball. We see her in Spiridon's picture descending the staircase, but we cannot imagine that such a costume would enchant an honest youth; nor does it seem that an artist is truly great who, with however earnest fidelity, publishes, rather than with artifice idealizes, the follies of his friends. "Sappho" is leaving the ball. She has ensnared a new lover. As for "Follette," she is even more ridiculously a creature of the hour.
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Page created: August 26, 1998