Goblin Market

“We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits:” Written in 1859 by  Christina Rossetti (sister to Dante Gabriel Rossetti), Goblin Market is a narrative poem of two sisters who encounter temptation. It is a complex poem–almost too complex to delve into for a blog post simply because it is hard…
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Menacing Beauty

“There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck.” – Radiohead, “There, There” Hylas and the Nymphs by John William Waterhouse depicts a scene from Jason and the Argonauts.  Hylas was the son of King Theiodamas, who was killed in battle by Herakles.  Herakles then raised Hylas as his own. Known for both his striking beauty and his…
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Botanical Paintings: My Top Picks

An  important hallmark of Pre-Raphaelite art is truth to nature.  Of course, there are many reasons why the art of the Pre-Raphaelites is so visually striking.  Their subject matter often illustrates a compelling narrative,  the vibrant hues they used results in a visually arresting effect that commands attention, and who can resist the beauty of…
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Art is a Mirror

When I was fifteen years old, my father taught me how to drive.  I was eager yet scared; I couldn’t believe that I had actually passed the test to get my learner’s permit. Dad wanted to give me ample opportunity to practice before beginning Driver’s Ed at school so we drove together often.  He’d pick…
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Daughters of the Mist

Ethereal is a good word to describe Evelyn De Morgan’s painting, Daughters of the Mist.  De Morgan depicts these airy beings with a light color palette and the hint of a rainbow gives an idea of iridescent beauty. The De Morgan foundation states that the subject of this work is probably related to the original…
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Legendary Armor

It’s Mythic March! Created by my friends Grace Nuth and Lisa Stock, its premise is similar to NaNoWriMo: spend a month incorporating the beauty of myth into your daily life. Many participants will use the opportunity to get creative and embark on new projects and crafts. I’d like to use this month to look at how…
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Lewis Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelites

Alice in Wonderland has a strong hold on our popular culture.  Over a century has passed since it and the sequel Through the Looking Glass were written and Alice’s strange journeys charm us still.  How many times can we reinterpret this book on screen?  It seems to be an endless source of inspiration and the…
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The lure of water-women

In Rossetti’s 1853 drawing Boatmen and Siren, one of the boatmen is captivated by the siren, but is saved from certain death by his companion.  The accompanying inscription was written by Jacopo da Lentino, a Italian poet of the Rennaissance era whose work was translated by Rossetti in The Early Italian Poets: I am broken,…
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Skeletons in the closet

Fatima was painted by Sir Edward Burne-Jones in 1862 and depicts the last wife of Bluebeard, the ancient serial killer who has the bodies of his previous wives hidden away. You can read an annotated version of Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard online at SurLaLune Fairy Tales. (Originally published in January 1697) Bluebeard hails from the days when children’s…
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Alone and palely loitering: La Belle Dame sans Merci

La Belle Dame sans Merci translated from the French means “the beautiful lady without pity” or “the beautiful lady without mercy”.  It is possible that the poem is based on the ballad of ‘True Thomas’, also known as ‘Thomas the Rhymer’, which tells how a man was enchanted by the queen of Elfland and lured…
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Image of the Week: Cinderella

Note the blue and white china in the background.  It was highly sought after by both Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Burne-Jones.  Elizabeth Siddal casually referenced this in a brief message to Georgiana Burne-Jones: My Dear Little Georgie, I hope you intend coming over with Ned to-morrow evening like a sweetmeat, it seems so long since…
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Undine

I’ve recently read Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. Written in the early 1800s, it is a classic fairy tale in which Undine, an elemental water spirit, marries a human in order to gain a soul. It may be derived from the tale of Melusina. (I prefer Melusina, who seems to have a strength…
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The Maids of Elfin-Mere

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first published illustration was The Maids of Elfen-Mere, drawn to illustrate a ballad by William Allingham titled “The Maids of Elphin-Mere”.  The Rossetti Archive includes it in their collection note: “DGR’s illustration was made for Allingham’s ballad “The Maids of Elfin-Mere”, which was published in The Music Master, A Love Story, and…
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