Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art - Christopher Moore The Sacred Blue: the only colour acceptable for the Virgin Mary’s cloak, the only colour on the artist’s palette not easily found in nature and allegedly the cause of the demise of many artists throughout history. After the apparent suicide of Vincent van Gogh grief stricken friends baker/artist Lucien Lessard and man-about-town/artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec begin to suspect all is not as it should be in gay Paree. Added to the mix every known impressionist painter, the Moulin Rouge, baguettes, a mysterious “colour-man”, a blue Muse and a liberal dose of cognac and you get Mr. Moore’s humorous look at 19th century impressionism.

I found this book to be a little step away from Mr. Moore’s usual offering. It definitely smacks of a firm knowledge or diligent research into the Impressionist movement and Paris at the time. Where his other books are bawdy and raucous to the core this one seems a mellower. Don’t get me wrong there are still the obligatory “boobie” and penis jokes for die-hard fans. But this book seems a step out in faith. Mr. Moore has a large and divergent fan base and this book deals with a very specific time period and an equally specific number of real people. Rarely is the period of an art movement as well documented at the Impressionists … photography was available, their works populate current galleries and vast documents still exist … Mr. Moore was brave to tackle it. I also feel that unless the reader has a better than passing familiarity with the artists and works included some of the “inside jokes” might be lost. Only Christopher Moore would refer to “La Grand Jatte” as “the painting of the little monkey in the park”.

I love the Impressionists and thoroughly enjoyed this book. A very forgiving sense of humour for subjects near and dear to your heart is definitely required as Mr. Moore carries on the tradition he established with his previous offerings; “Lamb” and "Fool” proving yet again that nothing is sacred … in this case, not even the colour blue.