On Aging

Jane Morris was swept into the Pre-Raphaelite world at age eighteen.  She was La Belle Iseult to William Morris, who declared “I cannot paint you; but I love you”. Then she was Pandora, Mnemosyne, Astarte Syriaca and other assorted goddesses to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Years later, after the Pre-Raphaelite bloom had faded from her cheeks, we see Jane on canvas again in Evelyn…
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How to be beautiful

Like every woman ever, there have been many times in my life when I’ve seen models or actresses and compared my own looks to them and realized I don’t measure up. I will never measure up. Then I grew wiser and realized that what I didn’t measure up to is a myth. That idea of…
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Rebel’s Daydream: An Animated Short Film

A breathtaking animated video celebrating the beauty and poetry of Pre-Raphaelite art. Directed and produced by Anna-Ester Volozh. Honestly, I was touched by the delicacy of this work. Absolutely stunning.  Watch below. Rebel’s Daydream – Tribute to the Pre-Raphaelites from Dragonbee on Vimeo.

The Unique Beauty of Rossetti

I often see criticism of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work that describes his paintings of women as masculine. Some people see Rossetti’s frequent depictions of elongated necks and broad shoulders and are instantly dismissive. This is not a conventional beauty, they think, this is not a goddess. The fact that Rossetti’s paintings of women fall outside…
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Unconventional Beauty

Author Henry James had seen Rossetti’s paintings of Jane Morris during a visit to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s studios.  Upon seeing Jane in person, he had this to write: “A figure cut out of a missal – out of one of Rossetti’s or Hunt’s pictures – to say this gives but a faint idea of her,…
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Katabasis: Descend into Hell

After my recent post on Dante’s Divine Comedy, I’ve been thinking about metaphorical descents into the Underworld.  The rather beautiful Greek word for descent is katabasis, usually used to describe a hero’s journey into the underworld on a quest of some sort.  It’s a journey seen in not only a  variety of myths, but multiple…
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What is the “Pre-Raphaelite Woman”?

Women are central figures in Pre-Raphaelite art and this has given us the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite Woman”. I frequently see the term ‘Pre-Raphaelite’ in occasional news articles, usually describing an actress or singer with long curly hair.  Florence Welch is often described as Pre-Raphaelite and it’s definitely a look she has embraced. But was there…
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Damsel, Fallen Woman, Goddess

Pre-Raphaelite art includes many beautiful yet different types of women. On one end of the spectrum, we have damsels in distress that need to be rescued. Or fallen women in need of forgiveness for having fallen (as if they fell by themselves). On the other end, we have goddesses and mythological women who need no…
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Lady of Shalott: Our Modern Version of the Curse

Doomed to view life through reflections, her life is a mere shadow with no experiences of her own. Inspired by Tennyson’s poem, the Pre-Raphaelites painted her repeatedly. “The mirror crack’d from side to side; “The curse is come upon me,” cried The Lady of Shalott.“ She is separate from the world, living in isolation as…
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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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