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L'Appel de la Nuit [The Call of the Night] 1938

Not on display

This is an early and important work in Delvaux's dream-landscape style. There is a deliberate conflict between the eroticism of the nudes and the uninviting setting into which they have been cast. Sexual fantasy collides with sexual anxiety in the strange and desolate landscape. The symbolism calls for interpretation but resists any. A skull and skeleton can be seen in the background, as well as groups of rocks which appear to be arranged in a prehistoric or symbolic manner. The rampant vegetation clinging to the languid nudes threatens to engulf them.

Glossary Open


The state of sexual arousal or the ability to arouse sexual feelings.


The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Eroticism, Symbolism


  • Acc. No. GMA 3884
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 110.00 x 145.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995