Δευτέρα, 26 Ιουλίου 2010

Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

  Edward Burne-Jones was an English painter, illustrator, designer and tapestry designer. He was the greatest of the second generation of The Pre-Raphaelites and was born in Bennetts Hill in central Birmingham the 28th August 1833. His mother died within a week of his birth, & his distressed father was unable to physically touch his son as a result. He was brought up by a rather severe Low Church housekeeper. From an early age, therefore, Burne-Jones created his own dream world, to make up for his bleak & unhappy personal circumstances. This dream world lasted all his life, & in his paintings we may still visit it today. He attended King Edward's VI Grammar School in Birmingham, where he was a successful pupil academically, & in his last year was head boy. He also attended art classes. Edward Jones, as he then was, became a devout Christian.

He went to Exeter College at the University of Oxford in 1853, & his intention was to take Holy Orders. Here he met his lifelong friend  William Morris. They called each other Ned & Topsy. Here they first heard of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They jointly developed a fascination with Arthurian legend. Edward Jones became an agnostic, & art replaced religion in his life. Jones did not stay to take a degree.

The princess tied to the tree

In London in the mid 1850s he met his artistic hero Rossetti, who became his mentor, & they were friends until Rossetti's death in 1882. He also met Holman Hunt. Jones then moved to London, sharing rooms with Morris. He assisted Rossetti in the creation of the unsuccessful mural at the Oxford Union. In 1860 Jones married Georgiana MacDonald, one of the remarkable Macdonald sisters. Another sister married Edward Poynter, a further sister married the ironmaster Alfred Baldwin & was the mother of the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin 1867-1947, & yet another sister was the mother of Rudyard Kipling 1864-1936.

Edward Jones acquired the extra surname Burne to differentiate himself from the legions of Jonesï's who painted.

                                                           Love among the ruins

Edward Burne-Jones was a nervous highly-strung individual. He combined a monkish asceticism, a mystical love of ancient legend, & a mischievous sense of humour. He had a classical artistic trait of suffering nervous collapse after the completion of a major work. Georgiana, or Georgie as she was known, was, as well as his wife, the mother he never had, & the manager of his life. They had two children who survived childhood, a son Phillip, & a daughter Margaret. William Morris founded his famous company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkener & Co ( Morris & Co.) in 1861. Jones worked as designer of stained glass church windows for the company, virtually to the end of his life. One of his last designs being the magnificent windows of St Phillips Cathedral, in Birmingham. In the early 1860s Jones made his first visit to Italy. In the mid 1860s, he started to gain a reputation as a painter, & to sell some pictures.
In the 1870s Burne-Jones became gradually more successful, though his patrons were a closed circle of wealthy & sophisticated people. He became friendly with the aristocratic artist George Howard, Earl of Carlisle, who produced some excellent drawings of him. His diffidence, & reluctance to exhibit publicly, however, still meant he was unknown to the wider public. In 1877, Burne-Jones was persuaded to exhibit at the Grosvenor Gallery, & virtually overnight became a famous painter. In the 1880s, he even outshone Millais & Leighton, being regarded as our greatest living artists. In the 1890s his health declined, & the death of William Morris in 1896 was a crushing blow. He had been created a baronet in 1894, but was unhappy about accepting the honour. Burne-Jones died suddenly at his house at Rottingdean in 1898. He was the most interesting & most loveable of all these great artists, & one of our greatest 19th century painters.

His son Phillip Burne-Jones 1861-1926 was a talented portrait painter.

                                                                the golden stairs

                                                                 the baleful head

                                                               the wedding of psyche

                                                                 The annunciation

                                                                     The lament

                                                              Perseus and the sea nymphs


                                                               Faith, Hope and Charity                

 Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Burne-Jones

Art & Poetry artaumonde.blogspot.com/                                                           

Παρασκευή, 16 Ιουλίου 2010

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)

 John Everett Millais was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood. Millais was born in Southampton in England in 1829. At the age of eleven won a place at the  Royal Academy schools where he met Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Hunt with whom he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood in 1848.

  His painting Christ in the house of his parents became controversial due to the fact that showed the Holy Family under a realistic eye as a working class family. Other works of his also became controversial, but his major success came with his painting A Huguenot showing a young couple ready to seperate because of religious conflicts.

                                                                       A Huguenot

  All these works were created with great detail concetrating on beauty and on natural world. With his painting Ophelia Millais created dense and elaborate pictorial surfaces based on the integration of naturalistic elements. This approach has been described as ''pictorial eco-system''.

                                                                   Ophelia (detail)

  The style was promoted by critic John Ruskin who had defended the Pre-Raphaelites against their critics and this friendship introduced Millais to his wife, who posed for the artist as a model for his painting the Order of release. Afterwards they fell in love and Effie filed for an annulment of her marriage with Ruskin and finally married Millais in 1856. They had eight children, amongst them John Guille Millais, a naturalist and wildlife artist.
  After his marriage Millais was painting in a broader style, which caused controversies and dislikes about his work by his critics, although his admirers pointed his connection with Whistler, Albert Moore and John Singer Sargent. Millais argued for himself that as he was growing as an artist, he would paint with greater boldness. In paintings such as The Eve of St. Agnes ant the Somnabulist revealed a dialogue with Whistler whose work Millais strongly supported. Other paintings of late 1850s and 1860s can be interpreted as aspects of the

                                                                   The Eve of St.Agnes

  His works on 1870s showed Millais's likeness about old masters such as Joshua Reynolds and Velazquez. Many of these paintings had historical themes. Notable were The two princes Edward and Richard in the Tower, the Northwest Passage and the Boyhood of Raleigh. These paintings depicted Britain's history and expanding empire. Millais also achieved big success with Bubbles for being used for advertising of soaps and Cherry Pipe. His last project was to be the  The Last Trek.

                                                             The Boyhood of Raleigh
                                                               The Northwest Passage

  Millais also had fascination about landscapes with difficult and dangerous terrain. The first of these was Chill October which was painted in Perth. Chill October was the first of the large Scottish landscapes Millais painted throughout his career. Other landscapes were Autumn Leaves and the Vale of Rest. In 1870 Millais returned to full landscape pictures and over the next twenty years painted a number of scenes of Perthshire.

                                                                  drew drenched furze              

  Millais was also a successful book illustrator, notably for the works of Anthony Trollope and Tennyson poems. He also provided illustrations for magazines such as Good Words.
  He was elected as an associate member of The Royal Academy of Arts in 1853 and was soon elected as a full member of the Academy. In 1885 he was granted a baronetcy . After the death of Frederic Leighton in 1896, Millais was elected President of the Academy but he died later in the same year  from throat cancer and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.

the nest    and   the bridesmaid                

                                                                         Joan of Arc

                                                                  Lorenzo and Isabella                                       


Art & Poetry artaumonde.blogspot.com/                                                                                               

Τετάρτη, 7 Ιουλίου 2010

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English painter, poet, illustrator and translator.He is also one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood and a precursor of the Aesthetic movement. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats and his later poetry is characterised by the complex thought and feeling.

                                                       la ghirlandata                                                                                                                
  He was the son of Gabriel Pasquale Giuseppe Rossetti and Frances Polidori. He was born in London, his family and friends called him ''Gabriel'', but in publications put first the name ''Dante'' in honour of  Dante Alighieri. He was also the brother of poet Christina Rossetti, critic William Michael Rossetti and author Maria Francesca Rossetti. One of his plans was to become a poet, that's why he attended King's College School. However, he also showed interest in painting, under the influence of his studies in Medieval Italian art. He studied at Henry's Sass's Drawing Academy from 1841 to 1845 and then enrolled at the Antique School of the Royal Academy where in 1848 left from. Retained a close relationship with Ford Madox Brown.
Along with Hunt and John Everett Millais created The Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood and he was mostly interested in the medieval side of the movement. He published several translations of Dante and other Italian Medieval poets. In 1850 Rossetti met Elizabeth Siddal who later became his wife and was model for Pre-Raphaelite painters.

a sea spell                                            
Her lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung spell
Between its chords; and as the wild notes swell,
The sea-bird for those branches leaves the sea.
But to what sound her listening ear stoops she?
What netherworld gulf-whispers doth she hear,
In answering echoes from what planisphere,
Along the wind, along the estuary?
She sinks into her spell: and when full soon
Her lips move and she soars into her song,
What creatures of the midmost main shall throng
In furrowed self-clouds to the summoning rune,
Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry,
And up her rock, bare breasted, comes to die?

   Rossetti's first major paintings display some of the realist qualities of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His Girlhood of Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini both portray Mary as a teenage girl. Rossetti prefered symbolic and mythological themes to realistic ones. This was also revealed through his later poetry. Criticism of his paintings caused him to withdraw from public exhibitions and turn to watercolours, which could be sold privately.
  In 1861 Rossetti published The Early Italian Poets including Dante's La Vita Nuova. He became inspired by Arthurian romance and medieval design as well as his friends William Morris and Burne-Jones. He used to write sonnets with some of his paintings such as ''Astarte Syriaca''.

                                            Astarte Syriaca                                                                               


Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
Unto this wall, - one instant and no more
Admitted at my distant palace-door
Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear
Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
That chills me and afar how far away,
The nights that shall become the days that were.

Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
Strange ways in thought, and listenfor a sign
And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
O, Whose sounds mine inner sense in fain to bring,
Continually together murmuring) --
'Woe me for thee, unhappy Proserpine'.

   His wife Elizabeth died after an overdose of laudanum shortly after giving birth to a child. This incident made him really depressed, affected his painting and upon this death buried all of his published poems with his dead wife at Highgate Cemetary, though later dugged them up. He idealised her image as Dante's Beatrice in a number of paintings such as ''Beata Beatrix''.

                                                  Beata Beatrix

   These paintings influenced the Symbolist movement. Later tended to portray his new lover Fanny Cornforth as the epitome of physical eroticism as well as his mistress Jane Burden as an ethereal goddess.

                                   sybilla palmifera                                                     

  During this time Rossetti acquired an obsession for exotic animals and in particular wombats.At these years Rossetti was persuaded to exhume his buried poems from his wife's grave, thus in 1870 published them in the volume Poems by D. G. Rossetti. The sensuality and eroticism of the poems caused offence. One poem, ''Nuptial Sleep'' talks about a couple falling asleep after having sex. This was part of Rossetti's sonnet sequence The House of Life, a series of poems about physical and spiritual development of an intimate relationship. In 1881 Rossetti published a second volume of poems Ballads and Sonnets, which included the remaining sonnets of The House of Life.

SONNET V. Heart's Hope.

By what word's power, the key of paths untrod,
     Shall I the difficult deeps of Love explore,
     Till parted waves of Song yield up the shore
     Even as that sea which Israel crossed dryshod?
     For lo! in some poor rhythmic period,
     Lady, I fain would tell how evermore
     Thy soul I know not from thy body, nor
     Thee from myself, neither our love from God.

     Yea, in God's name, and Love's, and thine, would I
     10 Draw from one loving heart such evidence
     As to all hearts all things shall signify;
     Tender as dawn's first hill-fire, and intense
     As instantaneous penetrating sense,
     In Spring's birth-hour, of other Springs gone by.

  Toward the end of his life Rossetti sanked into a morbid state, darkened by drug addiction to chloral which caused mental instability. He spent his last years as a recluse. On Easter in 1882, he died at a country house of a friend. He is buried at Birchington-on-Sea, Kent in England.

                                                              Lady Lilith

                                     the bower meadow                                             

                                          Dante's dream at the time of the death of  Beatrice                                                               

                                        the salutation of Beatrice                                                                                                                                                                            

                                   the seed of David                                                                                                           

For additional information about Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his poetry see :http://www.rossettiarchive.org/

Art & Poetry artaumonde.blogspot.com/