Monday, 8 June 2009

J.W. Waterhouse

J.W. Waterhouse (1849 — 1917) was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter. The Royal Academy of Arts in London is putting on a show of his works from 27 June-13 September.


Waterhouse was a skilled painter who produced large canvases of scenes from Classical mythology and English fairytales and legends. He must have done a lot of research and preliminary studies: his Lady of Shallott is portrayed with almost photographic realism against a damp English landscape, the tapestry that took years to create trailing in the water as she sets off on her last pointless voyage. The nymphs seducing Hylas are more feisty, not to mention raunchy, being dressed in nothing but waterlilies. And Circe Poisoning the Sea could be the original She Who Must Be Obeyed. Waterhouse probably went right out of date in the 1920s, but he deserves to be more widely known and appreciated.

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