Beauty and Ugliness

By Marsi Foundation

Marsi Foundation

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition : Room 3 - Ugliness (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Ugliness through the eyes of Marsi

Each culture interprets beauty and ugliness differently. Sometimes pictures of ugliness are praised as being of artistic value, such as a frightening animal face.  Art can make ugliness, such as paintings of demons become beautiful, by elaborate sketching and coloring. 

Sometimes, when we see such paintings, we say the paintings are beautiful, even paintings of hell or human torture. This raises the question of whether ugliness helps to make nature complete. So, ugly and horrific paintings may help show the beauty in Art.

Donne moi ta Main (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

The painting tells story about life and death as depicted in the picture of the skeleton’s romantic gesture asking for his lover’s hand. The title of the painting, “Gib deine Hand” (Give me your Hand), is part of a song named “Der Tod und das Mädchen”(Death and the Maiden), op.7 no.3, D.531, composed by Franz Schubert.

Donne moi ta Main (1995)

92 x 73 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

Marsi used ultramarine blue, the best and most expensive painting color in the Renaissance period.  Then, artists used it to depict St. Mary’s robe to show holiness and humility, but it was costly until synthetic color was made in 1826.

La Séparation (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

La Séparation (1998)

131 x 81 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France 

The artist adopted Christian symbols to represent life, death, and mortality, including hourglass and skulls. The painting expresses the sorrow in the separation of lovers.

Le Tango (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Le Tango

41 x 24 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The painting captures life and death through dancing the Tango. The beautiful red flowers are used as a symbol of life. The artist portrays a woman dancing unwillingly with a skeleton, implying that the dead is inviting the woman to death.

Deuil (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Deuil (1996)

92 x 73 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The artist uses the symbol of death, shown in the background, the “Moirai” or the three queens of fate from Greek mythology.

Clotho who spins the thread of life, Lachesis who measures its allotted length, and Atropos who cuts the thread to end life.

Recifs Sirène (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Racifs Sirènes (1976)

60 x 60 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The artist 's proficient glazing technique created the perfect dimension and depth of the painting. The darker outer frame directs viewers to the main component of the painting in the middle, showing humans with peculiar faces, similar to fish or aliens.

Vis Je viens (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Vis je viens (1996)

80 x 40 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The colorful flowers representing love and purity are used to contrast with death, as symbolized by the skull and muscled head. 

This depiction of the human head below the woman shows Marsi’s fascination with anatomy.

Racines célestes I (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Celestial Roots I (1972)

46 x 33 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The artist used a glazing technique involving painting in thin layers by combining oil into the color, followed by wiping out excess color when damp, to create the interesting texture of the painting.

This painting was influenced by Asian art, which portrays nature and space, like the movement of air.

Orphée aux enfers (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Orphée aux Enfers (1981)

55 x 38 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The darker part of the painting on the right portrays skeleton-like characters conversing with each other. This painting depicts the journey of Orpheus to rescue his beloved wife Eurydice from hell.

while the brighter left side shows a man and a woman in an amusing posture.

Déploration (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation


100 x 100 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

A beautiful woman lies on the lap of a skeleton mourning for her death. So just as we mourn the dead, the dead may mourn for the living.

The artist interestingly includes a vase containing both fresh and withered flowers.

Les Serpents Bibliques (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Les Serpents Bibliques (undated)

50 x 20 cm.
Oil on Canvas
Annot, France

One of Marsi's strongest paintings symbolizes the biblical story where the snake tempts Adam and Eve to consume the fateful apple, gaining knowledge and losing innocence.

The artist carefully portrays the twisting and turning movement of the snake around the woman’s body,

Marsi's choice of red and yellow colors makes the figures vibrant and stand out from the dark background.

Below the woman’s body, there is a love scene of a young couple, creating interesting contrast in the painting.

Commedia della Morte (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Commedia della Morte (1980)

117 x 90 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

This painting is derived from the Comedia dell’ Arte, an early form of theatre, popular in Europe in the 16th-18th century. But the artist has twisted the theme to represent the Comedy of Death.

Well known characters in the Comedia are here represented by the dead, namely Harlequin, the small figure wearing a patchwork outfit.

and Pantaloon, the old man holding mask and hat.

Danse Macabre (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

Danse Macabre (undated)

92 x 73 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The artist was inspired by European paintings in 15th Century which portrayed human skeletons from 6 different hierarchical levels.

namely monarch, priest, merchant, laborer, woman and child.

Danse macabre, op.40 is a symphonic poem composed by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns in 1874 to signify that no matter who one is, death comes to all.

La Jeune Fille et la Mort (20th Century) by MarsiMarsi Foundation

La Jeune Fille et la Mort (1969)

100 x 100 cm.
Oil on canvas
Annot, France

The painting is inspired by the music of Franz Schubert, “Death and the Maiden”, composed two months prior to his death. The color scheme of painting is an intriguing, dark color tone which highlights the radiant component, which stands out like a full moon in the dark night.

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Marsi's archive

 Marsi's archive collection of inspirational personal items. This includes several piano notation books of Chopin and Beethoven, a Wayang Golek from her years in Bandung, numerous novels, art references and animal shaped memorabilias.

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Some of Marsi's jewelry collection

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Marsi's home decorating sculpture of her Basset Hound.

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Tout L' opera is a guide to operas by American music critic and author Gustav Kobbé beside a home decorating item of Marsi.

"Beauty & Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi" exhibition (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

A wayang golek from her years living in Bandung, Indonesia.

Chronology of Marsi (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

Chronology of Marsi

This chronology of Marsi is shown alongside the artistic and social phenomena in the Thai and international community during the same period. 

Chronology of Marsi (21th Century) by Marsi FoundationMarsi Foundation

As Princess Marsi embarks on her training  as an artist in France, Cubism and Futurism had been introduced to Thai modern art by Prasong Patamanuj and minimalism art began to emerge in New York, U.S.A.

Her profound knowledge of Western literature and art history, as well as her extensive studies of classical paintings,  with advice from artist friends, contributed to Marsi's remarkable development. She began exhibiting often in Paris.

A number of posters and news coverage of her exhibitions highlight her artistic career in Europe. She had both solo and group exhibitions in Paris, Nice, Monton, Salamanca even Monaco.

See more on Art Is Reflection of Life & Death
Credits: Story

“Beauty and Ugliness: Aesthetic of Marsi”
7 November – 23 December 2018, The National Gallery Organised by Marsi Foundation
Princess Marsi Paribatra
Project Advisor
M.R. Jisnuson Svasti
Assistant Professor Dr. Supachai Areerungruang
Project Coordinator
M.L. Apichit Vudhijai
M.L. Chandrabha Svasti
Exhibition Design
Pruitsatorn Sakulthai
Kwanjit Chayapum
Exhibition Production
Kwanjit Chayapum
Graphic Design
Kwanjit Chayapum
Communication and Public Relations
Kullaya Kassakul
Event Operation
Ruamporn Thavornathiwas
Samatcha Apaisuwan
Documentary Production
Shane Bunnag
The National Gallery

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps