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Painting the Floral Spring 2
In the previous article, I looked at how Botticelli’s Primavera influenced artists in the first couple of centuries after its creation, and how Poussin told a set of stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in his sequel Empire of Flora. Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi), Primavera (Spring) (c... Read more
The Annunciation, old and new
The festival of the Annunciation is overshadowed by Lent and Easter. As tomorrow is Christmas Day, here is a look at some more unusual paintings of the annunciation to the Virgin Mary: one of the most popular themes in European art. The great majority of paintings of the annunciation... Read more
The Story in Paintings: JW Waterhouse and mediaeval romance
There were history and other narrative painters in the late 1800s who did not see the need to re-invent history painting in the way that Gustave Moreau did. One of the best and most enduring – if still little-known – was JW Waterhouse. John William Waterhouse (1849–1917) Born in... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Walter Crane, between illustration and painting
Walter Crane (1845–1915) was one of the most popular, most prolific, and most influential illustrators of children’s books. An enthusiastic fan of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, he was a close friend of William Morris, a key member of the Arts and Crafts movement, and an overt and active Socialist. His... Read more
Into the Light: Fernand Khnopff, more than a portrait
Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff (1858–1921) seems to have become filed in the ‘Symbolist – too difficult’ tray and vanished into art history’s all-too-common voids. As I hope to show here, although not a particularly prolific artist (he was also a sculptor and designer), he painted works of mysterious... Read more
Into the Light: Fernand Khnopff, more than a portrait
Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff (1858–1921) seems to have become filed in the ‘Symbolist – too difficult’ tray and vanished into art history’s all-too-common voids. As I hope to show here, although not a particularly prolific artist (he was also a sculptor and designer), he painted works of mysterious... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Philip Hermogenes Calderon 2, Shakespeare and the naked saint
Following the success of his Broken Vows and subsequent work, particularly his mediaeval Home After Victory, Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833–1898) was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1867. He was now an established and successful artist, and had helped found the ‘St John’s Wood Clique’, a... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Mariana – Shakespeare or Tennyson?
Artists of all periods since have painted characters and scenes from the plays of William Shakespeare. Some – such as Hamlet, King Lear, the witches from Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet – have been generally popular. Less well-known characters from the less popular plays have sometimes appeared in several... Read more
Dolce far niente: the apogee of Aestheticism
The Italian phrase dolce far niente means (literally) sweet doing nothing – it is the very enjoyment of being idle, the indulgence of relaxation, blissful laziness. If ever there was a hallmark of a painting from the Aesthetic movement, surely it is one titled dolce far niente. In this... Read more
Into the Light: Frederick Sandys, Rossetti’s shadow?
When examining Pre-Raphaelite landscape painting, I briefly mentioned the work of Frederick Sandys (1829–1904). His name is often omitted from lists of Pre-Raphaelites, but I hope here to convince you that he should be included. He was born Anthony Frederick Augustus Sands in Norwich, Norfolk, England, the son of... Read more