The Unknown Masterpiece Symbols & Objects

Richard Howard and Honoré de Balzac
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The Unknown Masterpiece

The unknown masterpiece symbolizes love–specifically the love of life, of beauty, of love, and of art, and how all intersect in art itself. Frenhofer argues in the story that art is combination of love of the subject and love of the painting itself. Only when both forms of love are combined is a real work of art made. The real work of art is pure. It does not merely copy love, life, and beauty, but expresses these things. The unknown masterpiece therein is pure love. Whereas Frenhofer wishes to protect this and present it in whole form to the world, Nicolas and Porbus wish to see the unfinished masterpiece, coveting it almost sexually. Visually, the masterpiece is supposed to depict a young nude woman surrounded by curtains on a coverlet with burning incense, while in reality, the picture features as its only recognizable...

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This section contains 368 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Unknown Masterpiece Study Guide
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