Characteristic of the portraits by the Symbolist Fernand Khnopff is their dreamy fin-de-siècle atmosphere – some would call it impenetrable. In particular, Khnopff portrayed women as idealised and mysterious creatures. For the type of the muse, angel or celebrant, as here, he often asked his sister Marguerite, whom he adored, to be his model. To him, she was the personification of the sister-virgin, whose rigorous elegance and aloofness met his ideal of feminine beauty. Khnopff is reported to have originally planned a triptych representing incense, myrrh and gold, but he never made the other two. Five versions of this Incense are known to us, in different techniques, including pastel, charcoal and oils.
SizeH: 89 cm
MediumPastel and charchoal on paper