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From 1907 to 1910, the ocean and the world around it were the ultimate source of inspiration for the artist Léon Spilliaert. On solitary, often nocturnal walks, Spiriate observes the natural element, immutable yet always in motion. He tirelessly makes the sea and the beach change, reflecting his changing moods and leading them to their own inner life. In Les Dikes, Spiriate strictly divides the surface into continuous areas. In this way, he leads his gaze diagonally to the depths of the horizon, and then along that line to infinity. The contribution of the cabin as the sole sign of human existence, and the rhythm of the visual rhythm enliven the previously static composition. As the black matter in the foreground ends abruptly at a cutoff angle, the same cutoff corresponds to the end of the dyke. Dark and light planes work in harmony, as do straight lines and curved lines. They converge at one point, while the halo of the distant firemark points again to the human presence. More than once Spiliat pits the theme of dikes directly against the sea. This version surprises with its unusual form: the work is almost twice as large as other known interpretations of the subject.

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99.8 x 73.8 cm

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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