The Personification of Love

Today I have been pondering allegories of love in art.  Namely, the choices artists make when representing the concept of Love in physical form.  It is usually male and I assume that the root of this lies in Greek myths of Eros, god of love, or his Roman counterpart, Cupid.  Seen above is Hope Comforting…
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Painting the Soul

At the age of twenty-one, Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote the short story Hand and Soul, which was published in The Germ, a short-lived magazine created by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.    Not only does the story  offer a glimpse into the young Rossetti’s beliefs and aspirations  but it seems to be the only work of fiction…
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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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Searching for Symbolic Windows

Last week I posted Evelyn De Morgan’s Hope in a Prison of Despair (seen above) on the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood Facebook page. A happy byproduct of sharing things on the Pre-Raph Sisterhood Facebook page is that when people comment, like, or share the post, it pops up in my own feed again.  I noticed that the…
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The Captives

Imprisonment and isolation appear frequently in Pre-Raphaelite art, with the repeated images of the Lady of Shalott, Mariana, and in Evelyn De Morgan’s painting The Gilded Cage.  In De Morgan’s painting The Captives (above) confinement is shown in a far more threatening manner through a fantasy world made up of menacing dragons. Are the dragons…
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Evelyn De Morgan and Botticelli

Kirsty Stonell Walker made an excellent point in Endless Digressions on Evelyn De Morgan:  she’s such a fascinating artist that it feels impossible to keep a post about her short.  Her work is large, vivid in color, and often depicts a spiritual theme or an allegory.  And if there’s anything I love, it’s an allegorical…
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Exploring Death Through Art

The sum total of our greatest fears is the death of the self or someone we love.  Since the beginning of time, humans have had the need to not only understand concepts of life, death, and love, but to personify them artistically.  When we depict life and death in such a way, it is an…
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The Gilded Cage

Evelyn De Morgan painted The Gilded Cage in 1919.  This was her last work before her death and we can read a wealth of meaning into it.  Let’s look at the husband first: his appearance indicates that he is much older than his wife. He is finely clothed, right down to his jewelry. Gold with…
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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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Pre-Raphaelite Sighting in Murder, She Wrote

A new sighting has just been added to the Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sightings page. Episode 10 of the first season of Murder, She Wrote shows Aurora Triumphans by one of my favorite female Pre-Raphaelites: Evelyn De Morgan.  Aurora Triumphans currently hangs in the Russell-Cotes Gallery. In this episode, a villainous owner of an amusement park tries…
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The Persistence of Myth

Myths are not dry, ancient tales.  They are our earliest experiments with metaphor and language.  They are truths nestled within layers of mystery and magic that tell us that we can make it if we try.  Myths do not lie to us or smother us in platitudes.  They openly tell us that bad things are…
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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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I stretch my hands and catch at Hope

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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Sorrow and Sunflowers

Clytie was a beautiful water nymph who loved the sun god Apollo (Helios).  Apollo, however, didn’t return her love.  The rejected Clytie could not move on and her love for Apollo grew into an obsession.  She remained in one spot, staring at the sun as her unrequited love guided it across the sky each day…
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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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‘The Dryad’, Evelyn De Morgan

Dryads are nymphs of the trees.  Their connection with the tree they lived in was so strong, they would die when the tree died. Purple irises are at her feet, symbolizing the minor Greek goddess Iris.  Iris is the messenger of the gods, particularly Zeus and Hera.  She is also the personification of the rainbow…
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Demeter and Persephone

In De Morgan’s painting,  we see Demeter as she mourns the loss of her daughter.  Stricken with grief,  she clasps her head–surrounded by shafts of wheat,  denoting Demeter’s role as goddess of the harvest. The tale of Demeter and Persephone personifies the depth of a mother’s love.  It is a myth about the death and…
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Ariadne

Ariadne was a daughter of Minos, king of Crete.  She defied her father by helping his prisoner, Theseus, who had been imprisoned in the Minotaur’s labrynth.  Ariadne gave him the thread that he used to find his way to freedom after killing the monster.  In helping Theseus, she risked the anger and retribution of her…
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Port After Stormy Seas

Port After Stormy Seas (1905) by Evelyn De Morgan Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, Ease after War, death after life  does greatly please. –Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen I first encountered these lines as a teenager, while reading Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly. Quoted by the character Mrs. Folliat, the words speak of the respite needed after…
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The Storm Spirits

My moods are tied to the weather, a fact about myself that I relish.  I can instantly be cheered by a simple breeze or a bright blue sky.  This is why Autumn is my favorite season, there is something magical about the smell of the wind.  But, at least where I live, we are entering…
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Happy 2012!

There is a wealth of possibility in beginnings, especially the beginning of a new year.  Since I see beginnings as positive, I think it’s dreadful if we add anything negative to that. I never form New Year’s Resolutions that have anything to do with subtraction.  No eating less, no shedding pounds, no pining or wishing…
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