|ASTERIX & ARTS||
There are many allusions to historic events, to great men and women, to the arts, literature and the cinema in the Asterix stories. Reality blends in with fiction, and characters from other parts of the world, and other times, are mentioned by the indomitable Gauls. From page to page, we see an amnesiac Gaul imagining he is Napoleon, a cultivated barbarian reciting Shakespeare, and Asterix, the righter of wrongs, sign with a Z.
During their journey, Obelix and Asterix stop over at a tavern in Massilia (Marseille). In Asterix and the Banquet, the interior of Drinklikafix’s tavern is inspired by the one in the 1931 film by Marcel Pagnol, Marius. The three card players are ancient replicas of the characters Escartefigue, Honoré Panisse and Monsieur Brun, who were played in the film, respectively, by Paul Dullac, Fernand Charpin and Robert Vattier.
In Asterix and the Big Fight, Asterix and Obelix decide to consult Psychoanalytix, a druid who is specialized in problems of the mind, in order to help Getafix recover from amnesia. There are lots of patients in the waiting clearing. Among them, an overly shy barbarian, a Gaul who thinks he is a boar and a little man, his right hand over his heart, his left hand behind his back, proudly wearing a cocked hat like Napoleon I.
In Asterix the Legionary, the pirates again prefer abandoning ship than facing Obelix and Asterix. They end up on a makeshift raft, buffeted by the Mediterranean waves. The scene recalls The Raft of the Medusa, a painting by Théodore Géricault, showing the wreck of a ship called Medusa off the African coast in 1816.
On their way to Spain, Obelix and Asterix ask for directions from a horseman and his squire. This character’s mention of windmills is a reference to the heroes created by Cervantes: Don Quichotte and his faithful, pragmatic squire, Sancho Panza.
In Asterix in Switzerland, the Roman dignitaries celebrate Bacchus, the God of wine and ecstasy, during the orgies organized by the powerful Roman governor of Condatum (Rennes), Varius Flavus. The scenes of Roman decadence are a reference to Satyricon, the Fellini film of 1969. When one of his guests compliments the excess of his orgies, Varius Flavus mentions the name of his caterer, Fellinus!
In Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, Obelix and Asterix make a firm decision to steal the Roman Emperor’s laurel wreath to season a stew. To get into Caesar’s palace, they offer their services to Typhus, a dealer of “elegant” slaves. But there is lots of competition on stage. The Adonis-like slave poses like Rodin’s Thinker, like Laocoon, the Greek priest in Troy who was crushed by snakes, and like the Discus Thrower by the Greek sculptor Miron.
Asterix challenges Tremensdelerius, the Roman who is trying to take back the village he sold to Orthopaedix, by force. In Asterix and Caesar's Gift, Asterix wields his sword with great dexterity. While straightening out the Roman, he signs his victory with a Z… like Zorro?
In Asterix and the Great Crossing, Asterix and Obelix end up on a desert island after escaping from a camp filled with strange Romans wearing feathers. Seeing a ship on the horizon, Asterix, holding a flaming torch, climbs onto a mound of rocks. Our lost Gaul looks like the Statue of Liberty, which watches over New York harbor, as it has since 1886.
Obsen, the Viking chief, discovers that Asterix and Obelix are not natives of the New World, and cries out upset, "Something is rotten in the state of... ", in reference to Skakespeare’s "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" in Hamlet.
In Asterix in Belgium, the victory banquet is an “Asterixian” version of the painting Peasant Wedding, by the Flemish painter, Pieter Bruegel.
Manikin comes running out of his parents’ hut for natural and irrepressible reasons: a playful reference to the Manikin Pis, a bronze statue showing a little boy responding to a call of nature, where all eyes can see, near the Grand-Place in Brussels!
In Asterix and the Great Divide, two Gaulish chiefs fight over their village. Ignoring Cleverdix’s election by the left side of the village, Majestix declares, as though inspired by Louis XIV: "By divine right!" The august pose taken by Majestix is similar to that of the Sun King in the famous painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701).