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Sir Edward Poynter, a British Gérôme? 1, to 1879
It is hard to believe now that, in his day, Sir Edward Poynter (1836–1919) was one of the most eminent British artists. But like so many in the later years of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, once Fry’s ‘Post-Impressionism’ had taken the art world by storm, his work... Read more
Sir Edward Poynter, a British Gérôme? 2, 1880 onwards
By 1880, Sir Edward Poynter (1836–1919) was well-established as one of the leading artists of the day. Although he had painted some spectacular panoramas and some scenes from popular classical narratives, many of his paintings were more typical of the Aesthetic movement, lacking the intricate narratives of Frederic, Lord... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Aesculapius or Asclepius
In the second of my recent articles on Sir Edward Poynter, I included a painting of his titled A Visit to Aesculapius (1880), noting that it showed an unusual motif. Just how unusual? If you look at classical sculpture, there are probably dozens of statues of Aesculapius – or... Read more
Lawrence Alma-Tadema: classics go Aesthetic, 1
The four artists whose reputations bore the brunt of the early twentieth-century rush through Post-Impressionism to Modernism were John Singer Sargent, Frederick, Lord Leighton, Sir Edward Poynter, and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The high priest of that modernisation, Roger Fry, reserved his most damning and personal attacks for Sir Lawrence... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 6: British landscape painting in the 19th century
Having completed my short survey of Pre-Raphaelite landscape painting, its characteristics, and difficulties, in this article I’d like to try to set it in the context of British landscape painting during the nineteenth century. This necessarily starts with the major works of John Constable. Although he sketched extensively in... Read more
Wet in wet: a brief history of watercolour – 3, 1850-1890
The second article in this series showed the huge advances in watercolour painting during the first half of the nineteenth century, which made the medium popular, and increasingly so for those engaging in ‘new’ trends: landscapes, plein air paintings, amateurs, and women painters. The specialist art supplies industry also... Read more
Changing Stories: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on canvas, 50 – Orpheus and Eurydice
Ovid ended Book 9 of his Metamorphoses with some myths which posed painters problems, but opens Book 10 with one of the greatest and most enduring stories of the European canon: that of Orpheus and Eurydice. The Story Ovid links to this story through Hymen, the god of marriage,... Read more
River Gods and Nymphs
Narrative painting of classical myths has quite a few conventions, although these days they’re not easy to find described. One which often confuses the unwary is the symbolism of river gods and their attendant nymphs. As a preface to tomorrow’s look at paintings of Ondine (or Undine), here’s a... Read more