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…
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Aurora

A small pocket-book of this time contains a note made by Edward from a canal-bridge in a poor quarter of the city, which nearly thirty years afterwards he developed into the background of his “Aurora”.  The main outlines of building and canal are preserved in the picture, and Aurora with her cymbals comes lightly stepping…
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The Mirror of Venus

Burne-Jones’ painting The Mirror of Venus is a celebration of female beauty.  Ten women, often identified as Venus and her attendants, gather around their own watery reflections.  The landscape is no rival for their beauty — it’s a bleak land that was described by author Christopher Wood as ‘strangely lunar’. The painting doesn’t offer us…
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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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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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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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