Rops’ works underline his love of the whimsical and the supernatural, and his works are mainly made out of skeletons, devils and the dead.
Some see this drawing as a transposition of Baudelaire’s Satanism in plastic form. Others interpret it as the meeting of lust and pride with death.
The bas-relief shows the scrawny wolf feeding the starving Remus and Romulus. These two skeletons still love each other through night, beyond death; it is not passionate love, but courteous love.
This is where Rops full irony lays, as he calls it the “supreme vice”. (from Anne Goffart, in 'Musée d'Art Moderne. Œuvres choisies', Brussels, RMFAB, 2001, p. 70-71)
English Translation by Marianne Reynolds (2010)