Finding Fireflies Amidst the Fireworks

When Waterhouse’s exquisite Hylas and the Nymphs was controversially removed from exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery recently, I wrote that it would be far more beneficial to promote images that empower women instead of removing a masterpiece to provoke a reaction. The painting has since been returned to display at the Gallery, and it was…
Read more

Bothered by Art Censorship? #MeToo

The Manchester Art Gallery announced this week that it has removed from exhibition the painting Hylas and the Nymphs by J.W. Waterhouse, and also the post cards of it in its gift shop. The gallery’s stated goal is to “challenge this Victorian fantasy” of “the female body as either a ‘passive decorative form’ or a ‘femme…
Read more

How to be beautiful

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. What I don’t measure up to is a myth. That idea of perfection is not a harmless fairy tale, it’s a monster that…
Read more

In a World of Her Own

I’ve seen  Pre-Raphaelite paintings  of women  dismissed as ‘languid’ or ‘vapid’ and many critics view them as sensual images created solely for the male gaze. That’s a fair argument, of course, but I feel it’s a point of view that barely scratches the surface. To me, Pre-Raphaelite women are not shallow objects of beauty, but…
Read more

A Primordial Venus

I’ve written about Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Astarte Syriaca (1877) more than once on this blog, saying in Those Rossetti Lips:  She could totally crush you.  It’s a powerful painting, one of my favorites. I realize that it may not be to everyone’s taste. Especially if you are not already a Rossetti fan, it could come…
Read more

Why write about Pre-Raphaelite women?

I receive many positive emails through this blog because, for the most part, people in the world are great.   The negative ones stand out, though, and occasionally eat at me. In a recent message, someone (I assume not a regular reader of this blog) questioned my feminism because I am devoted to Pre-Raphaelite art….
Read more

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…
Read more

A Mother’s Exile

Georgiana Burne-Jones, wife of artist Edward Burne-Jones, was a devoted wife and mother.  Her love for her husband and children is obvious when reading any account of the Burne-Jones family.   Despite her joy at becoming a mother, Georgie poignantly described a sense of exile once she was no longer in the studio with her…
Read more

The Captives

Imprisonment and isolation appear frequently in Pre-Raphaelite art, in images like 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 merely dragons?…
Read more

Four grey walls, and four grey towers

After posting about Evelyn De Morgan’s painting The Gilded Cage, I began to think about other paintings that depict women who are trapped and imprisoned in some way, paintings that prompt me to ponder limitations and boundaries. The Lady of Shalott is perhaps the most obvious example that comes to mind.  Based upon the poem…
Read more

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…
Read more

Monstrous Women

I was browsing a bookstore and found an aisle offering boxed sets of movies packaged with the books they were based on. A little girl picked up Frankenstein and handed it to her mother, who rolled her eyes. “You don’t want that. That’s for boys.” I assume the mother had never heard of Mary Shelley….
Read more

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...