Fernand Khnopff (1858 – 1921) is a very personal artist within the particular art that was being made in Europe at the end of the 19th century.
The beginnings of this Belgian artist took place at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels and there he was influenced by the symbolist aesthetic trend, in addition to meeting various creators relevant from Belgium like Jean Delville or James Ensor. And although he spent time inParis, he soon returned to his country where he participated in the founding of the group Les XX in 1883. At the same time that he became increasingly interested in questions of the occult.
I lock my door upon my self by Fernand Knopff
For all these reasons, it seems logical that he gradually approachedPre-Raphaeliteespecially Edward Burne-Jones or Gustave Moreau's Symbolism
In short, the works of Khnopff always have an aura of mystery enclosing metaphors and allegories. They also have a very particular and modern aesthetic that melts cold tones as novel frames that usually convey ideas of loneliness, delicacy and abandonment. And there are also other features that define his style, such as his exquisite technique, capable of meticulously rendering even the most precise of details.
In this line is his workI lock my door upon myselffrom the year 1891 thatit is now kept in the New Picture Gallery in Munich. And in this painting you can see another usual feature in his compositions. We refer to the presence of a woman with an inaccessible appearance and a gaze that invites reverie. But that she also transmits us an enigma.
In the case of this work starting with the title itself, borrowed from a poem by Christina Rossetti, sister of another of the great representatives of pre-Rafelite art , Dante Gabriel Rossetti, author of the famous Annunciation.
We see a red-haired woman with disturbing eyes that seem almost bewitched. The image can seem unreal to us, almost like a spectrum between lifeless flowers and cracked wood. The interpretation is very complicated, however there are authors who find an explanation thanks to the white sculptural head that stands out on the wall. It would be a head of Hypnos, god of sleep. With which the painter would have wanted to show us a woman who has closed herself off from external influences and wants to isolate herself in her deepest conscience. But as we say, it is clear that the taste for symbols and esotericism makes it very difficult to interpret this work, and almost all those of this Belgian artist.