This article accompanies the fable
Some families are snake-bitten – they feud constantly. That was certainly the case with George Sand, her son Maurice and daughter Solange, and her soon-to-be-ex-lover Chopin, and it sucked in visiting friends like Delacroix.
The most notable crisis was in May of 1847 when Solange married Auguste Clésinger, a sculptor and painter who became famous at the Paris Salon at this time for the scandalous Woman Bitten by a Snake (Femme piquée par un serpent). The model was courtesan Apollonie Sabatier, but it almost could have been Solange since she always seemed snake-bitten. Their story was not a happy one.
The sculpture itself – now in the Musee d'Orsay - made a lasting impression because of its racy sensuality and break from classical tradition. Although the woman is said to be writhing from a snake bite (there is a tiny snake on her other arm), contemporary critics and members of the public had no doubt she was writhing from sexual pleasure and struggled to find ways of addressing that.
Photo: Wikipedia – Rama