Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Victor Noir

Victor Noir is more famous for his death and his grave than for his life. Noir was born Yvan Salmon, but adopted a pen name when he moved to Paris to take up journalism. When a cousin of the Emperor challenged the owner of the newspaper for which Noir worked to a duel, Noir was sent, as one of the seconds, to arrange the details of the duel. When the Prince referred to Noir and a companion as ‘menials’, a slap was exchanged, with either Noir striking the Prince or being struck by him, and the Prince then shot Noir dead. To mark Noir’s grave, a bronze statue of the man lying supine as if just shot, his hat lying beside him, was erected. This statue has since become something of a fertility symbol. Due to the naturalistic style of the sculpture there is a rather prominent fold in Noir’s trousers which make him appear to be aroused. It is said that by rubbing this area and leaving a flower in Noir’s hat, a woman is guaranteed a husband within the year. While the rest of the statue is covered with verdigris, Noir’s crotch gleams, proving the popularity of this particular myth.


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