Lines with the Weight of Life

Gina Costa | Jan. 2, 2012 | Snite Museum of Art

Georges Rouault’s Miserere

O’Shaughnessy West Gallery | January 13–March 10, 2013

Rouault's Miserere - Resized Georges Rouault (French, 1871-1958), Miserere, 1923, etching and aquatint over heliogravure. Gift of Mr. Leonard Scheller, 1974.108.006

NOTRE DAME, INDIANA – The Snite Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Notre Dame will put on view a new exhibition: Lines Etched with the Weight of Life: Georges Rouault’s Miserere, on January 13, 2013.  This haunting series of 58 sheets, whose title “Have mercy on me, O God” is taken from Psalm 51, is considered a monument in twentieth-century printmaking.  This is the first time the Snite Museum of Art will present the series, described as a powerful lamentation of the human condition, in its entirety.

In response to the ravages of World War I, French artist Georges Rouault (1871–1958) produced a portfolio of drawings, which were reproduced as heliogravures, a process combining engraving and photography. Dissatisfied with the results of the reproductions, the artist continued to modify the plates using a variety of printmaking techniques in un-conventional ways.  What he achieved was an entirely new object whose surface physicality created a spiritual space in which the viewer’s mind focuses upon the transcendent truths expressed by the artist. Although printed in 1927 under the supervision of the artist, the prints remained in storage until 1948 when they were finally published.

Compared with some of the most famous graphic sequences in history, including Albrecht Dürer’s Little Passion, Jacques Callot’s Caprices, and Francesco Goya’s Disasters of War, Miserere uniquely combines overtly religious iconography with modern, subtle and introspective portrayals of human misery and salvation.  Prints by these artists are also included in the exhibition to illustrate Rouault’s homage to tradition and his endless innovation.

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The public is invited to a reception on Sunday, February 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m. This reception and gallery talk are free and open to the public.

The Snite Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, near South Bend, Indiana. Museum hours are 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and Sundays 1:00–5:00 p.m.  Admission is free.  Museum information is available at 574-631-5466 or at the Museum’s website: Driving directions and parking information are available at   Find us at and

 by Daily Domer Staff

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