Autumn Inspires

I find Autumn to be healing.  Life takes on a distinctive flavor and the speed may be different, but the possibilities are endless.  It’s an inspiring season that delights the senses with colors and smells in a way I find comforting.  It’s no wonder that many artists and poets have paid homage to it in…
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It’s Earth Day!

In Modern Painters, John Ruskin urged artists to “go to nature in all singleness of heart… rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing; believing all things to be right and good, and rejoicing always in the truth.” The Pre-Raphaelites and their followers took this advice to heart. In Millais’ Ophelia, for example, we can see…
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Marigolds, Sacred Flowers for the Dead

Our Halloween revelry is over and now we honor our ancestors with the Day of the Dead.  Throughout Mexico and the Southwestern U.S.,  this is Dia de los Muertos, a special event that focuses on togetherness of family and friends and honoring those who have passed on.  It is a beautiful way to honor the…
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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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The Symbolism of Lepidoptera

Truth to nature was one of the main tenets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and an excellent example of this can be seen in the Death’s Head moth in William Holman Hunt’s painting The Hireling Shepherd (above).  I’ve blogged about it many times before; it’s part of my Shakespeare post that I share yearly on the…
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Pan, Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Above is a detail from Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Pan from The Wind in the Willows. I first became enchanted by Pan when, as a little girl, I read The Wind in the Willows. I was in love with that book from the moment Mole became fed up with his spring-cleaning, left his hole, and met…
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The Significance of Three

I have an obsessive/compulsive relationship with the number three that has been in place for most of my life. For many years, it was so subtle that neither I or loved ones noticed.  It existed in childhood but was overlooked.  I have now been a parent for nineteen years, and it is something my children…
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Find Something Beautiful

Since it is now the beginning of Summer, Sweet Summer by John William Waterhouse seems a fitting painting to contemplate.  Reclining in the grass, a beautiful woman relaxes next to a cool fountain on what is a presumably hot summer day. Her fan lies unused next to her while her hand lightly holds a rose….
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Embrace the Night

The day has its own bright beauty. Morning may bring the possibility of a new beginning, but at night, everything slows down and the world takes on a different mood.  Night wears a deeper hue, things become varying shades of blues and purples.  It’s a slower form of beauty.  Introspective and melancholy. Is it any wonder…
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Nature as Feminine

In Listening to my Sweet Pipings, Waterhouse has shown the figure of Earth reclining as Pan serenades her.  Notice that Earth holds a poppy in her hand while Pan wears one in his hair.  The title of Waterhouse’s painting is taken from Hymn of Pan by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The notion of Nature as feminine…
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Poppies: Sleep, Death, Remembrance

The Tower of London is marking the centenary of World War I with a breathtaking art installation called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ by artist Paul Cummins.  The installation will include total of 888,246 ceramic poppies, each flower representing a British military fatality from WWI.   The tradition of using poppies for remembrance of those…
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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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Eos

Eos is goddess of the dawn; she brings forth hope of the new day.  She opens the gates of Heaven for the sun to rise, allowing her brother Helios (the sun god) to begin his daily journey across the sky.  In the Homeric hymns, she is depicted as accompanying Helios. She is also the mother…
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Summer Beauty

I seem to be bombarded by advertisements that insist there is still time to get my body “bikini ready”.  If I can’t sculpt, shape or melt away areas of my body, I can visit one of the many tanning salons that seem to be popping up on every corner.  Or I could take a safer…
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Oh Beautiful Moon

Did you see the moon this weekend? The full-bodied and absolutely perfect moon? It has inspired a moon themed blog post of the Pre-Raphaelite variety: A Match With The Moon WEARY already, weary miles to-night I walked for bed: and so, to get some ease, I dogged the flying moon with similes. And like a…
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Celebrate Earth Day with a Pre-Raphaelite Flair

What do the Pre-Raphaelites have to do with our modern Earth Day? Nothing, really. But I think that the principles they followed and the love of nature they embraced can inspire us to slow down and appreciate natural beauty. Prior to the Pre-Raphaelites, if an artist painted a flower in a picture it would have…
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