Veronica Veronese


“The girl is in a sort of passionate reverie, and is drawing her hand listlessly along the strings of a violin which hangs against the wall, while she holds the bow with the other hands, as if arrested by the thought of the moment, when she was about to play.  In color, I shall make…
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#WombatFriday Links


  It’s Wombat Friday!  Our hero the Wombat can be seen here with William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil.  You can see it and other versions of Isabella in Love, Death, Potted Plants. This week was the anniversary of Agatha Christie’s death, so here’s a post at The Kissed Mouth about Agatha…
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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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King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid


Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ painting King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid is based on the story of an African King who had never felt any attraction towards women until he spotted a beggar woman. In this tale of love at first sight, King Cophetua declares that despite her low social standing, she will be his queen….
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Dame Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth

Dame Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, John Singer Sargent

Today marks the birthday of John Singer Sargent in 1856. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite works of his, Dame Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth.  Victorian actress Ellen Terry fascinates me and in a previous blog post about her memoirs, I shared her own words on the Lady Macbeth costume, which I…
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Pre-Raphaelite work spotted in Seinfeld


I’ve added a new entry to the Unexpected Sightings page. ‘Reverie’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti can be seen in the background of NBC sitcom  Seinfeld.  This is Mr. Pitt’s apartment, where the character Elaine works as Mr. Pitt’s personal assistant.  Sixth episode of the sixth season of Seinfeld, titled ‘The Gymnast’.   To see Pre-Raphaelite…
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Victorian Representations of Cleopatra

'Cleopatra', John William Waterhouse (1888)

Although not technically a Pre-Raphaelite, it is obvious that the work of John William Waterhouse was heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite style.  His Cleopatra is reminiscent of Rossetti’s half-length portraits, complete with the unwavering gaze of a stunner.  He portrays her seated on her throne in a position of power rather than choosing to illustrate…
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‘Mariana’, Sir John Everett Millais

'Mariana', Sir John Everett Millais

When Millais first exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy, he displayed it with these lines of Tennyson: She only said, ‘My life is dreary- He cometh not’ she said She said ‘I am aweary, aweary – I would that I were dead.’ –From Tennyson’s poem Mariana The subject of Mariana was visited twice by…
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I stretch my hands and catch at Hope

'Pandora' (detail), Dante Gabriel Rossetti

According to myth, after Prometheus stole fire from the gods, Zeus wanted to punish mankind. He ordered Hephaistos and other gods to create a woman that they would endow with gifts and beauty. Hephaistos created her lovely form; the Four Winds breathed life into her. Her beauty was given to her by Aphrodite. Zeus bestowed…
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Burne-Jones on Portraiture

Photogravure of a portrait of Edward Burne-Jones by his son Philip Burne-Jones, 1898

I am guilty of often overlooking Burne-Jones’ portrait work in favor of his narrative paintings.  However, this morning I read a passage in which his wife discusses the artist’s opinions of the use of expression in his portraits: Another portrait painted this year, that of Miss Fitzgerald, a young American girl.  The art of portraiture…
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Music in The Bower Meadow

'The Bower Meadow', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

For years, when I would see this piece I would focus on the women in the foreground. What’s their story? They play music and dance, yet there is a sense of sadness. Each of them looks in a different direction. They are in a group, but they seem alone.   Now my focus has shifted…
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Pyramus and Thisbe

'Thisbe', John William Waterhouse

The tale of Thisbe comes from book four of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In ancient Babylon, the families of Pyramus and Thisbe live in separate houses that share a roof. Over time, the two youths fall in love but are forbidden by their parents to see each other. Undaunted, the lovers use a crack in the wall…
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Exploring Rossetti’s Home

'D.G. Rossetti and Theodore Watts-Dunton in the sitting room at Cheyne Walk.  Watercolour by Henry Treffry Dunn

“I was ushered into one of the prettiest and most curiously furnished old-fashioned parlours that I had ever seen. Mirrors and looking-glasses of all shapes, sizes and design lined the walls. Whichever way I looked I saw myself gazing at myself.”–Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his circle (Cheyne walk life), Henry Treffry Dunn. Henry…
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Her enchanted hair

Lady Lilith, painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1868

And  her enchanted hair was the first gold./And still she sits, young while the earth is old –from Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet Lady Lilith Lilith appears here with pale skin and clad in a white gown, making her luxurious hair the most vivid thing in the room.  In this painting, Dante Gabriel Rossetti is not…
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