Charles Meryon

France, b.1821, d.1868

Le Stryge

Le Stryge (the ghoul) is from Charles Meryon’s Paris Set, a folio of eighteen etchings of views of Paris produced between 1851 and 1854. Le Stryge is the most dramatic and sinister of his Parisian views, a mood further enhanced in the second state of the print, which included the inscription Insatiable vampire of eternal luxuria coveting this grand city as its feeding place. The view is taken from a gargoyle on the north tower of Notre Dame, with the tower of Saint Jacques standing prominently in the distance. The black ravens, symbols of evil and darkness, swoop and soar menacingly above the city. Born in Paris, Meryon served with the French navy and was posted to Akaroa, New Zealand from 1843 to 1846. On his return to France he decided to become an artist. He studied under French printmaker Eugène Bléry (1805–1887) and went on to become one of the most important French etchers of the 19th century.