Tuesday, July 5, 2016

17 Classic Works of Art, Models, from a drawing to the Canvas - With Footnotes

John William Waterhouse, R.A., R.I., 1849-1917
charcoal and pencil
24 by 22cm., 9½ by 8½in.

This is a study for the head of the enchantress Circe in Waterhouse's painting of 1892 Circe Invidiosa (Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide), in which she is pouring a huge bowl of lurid green poison into the sea to transform her love-rival Scylla into a hideous monster. More

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
Circe Invidiosa, Jealous Circe, c. 1892
Oil on canvas
180.7 × 87.4 cm (71.1 × 34.4 in)
Art Gallery of South Australia

KIRKE (Circe) was a goddess of sorcery (pharmakeia) who was skilled in the magic of transmutation, illusion, and necromancy. She lived on the mythical island of Aiaia with her nymph companions.

When Odysseus came to her island she transformed his men into beasts but, with the help of the god Hermes, he overcame her and forced her to end the spell.

Kirke's island of Aiaia (Aeaea) was located in the far west, near the earth-encircling River Okeanos (Oceanus). Her brother Aeetes' realm in the far east was similarly named Aia. More

John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 – February 10, 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to his sobriquet "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.

Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Later on in his career he came to embrace the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting despite the fact that it had gone out of fashion in the British art scene several decades before. More

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S, 1830 - 1896
charcoal and white chalk with pencil
26 by 22cm., 10 by 8½in.

This drawing was used as a study for Lachrymae (Metropolitan Museum of fine Art, New York) exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1895 alongside Flaming June, a similar drawing for which was sold in these rooms (15 July 2015, lot 4). It depicts Mary Lloyd, the model for many of Leighton's last paintings. Another study for the head in Lachrymae is in the collection of Leighton House Museum but it was the present drawing that was exhibited in the artist's memorial exhibition in 1897. More

Frederic, Lord Leighton (British, Scarborough 1830–1896 London)
Lachrymae, ca. 1894–95
Oil on canvas
62 x 24 3/4 in. (157.5 x 62.9 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Leighton titled this work Lachrymae, the Latin word for “tears.” Advance press for the Royal Academy exhibition in London in 1895 described the picture as a “type of stately grief,” noting the woman bent despondently over a funerary monument; the withered wreath at her feet; and the cypresses, symbolic of mourning. More

John William Waterhouse, R.A., R.I., 1849-1917
charcoal, white chalk and pencil
42 by 32cm., 16½ by 12½in.

This recently rediscovered drawing was made in preparation for one of Waterhouse’s most famous paintings, Hylas and the Nymphs (Manchester City Art Gallery) painted in 1896 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1897. The picture depicts a wooded glade and a pool clogged with lilies, from which a group of naked water-nymphs rises to tempt a young man into the black waters. The narrative was taken from the thirteenth Idyll of the poet Theocritus, describing the story of the beloved companion of Hercules.  More

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
Hylas and the Nymphs, c. 1896
Oil on canvas
132.1 × 197.5 cm (52 × 77.8 in)
Manchester Art Gallery

The water's dark surface is covered with lily pads and flowers, the gaps between the plants revealing the water’s translucence, showing underwater lily stalks and further glimpses of the nymphs’ pale upper bodies. The scene is viewed almost from above: the top of the picture shows no sky, only the brown tree roots and deep green foliage that line the water’s edge. More

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
Hylas and the Nymphs, c. 1896

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
Hylas and the Nymphs, c. 1896

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S., 1833-1898
signed with initials with a cartouche l.r.
35 by 28cm., 14 by 11in

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet ARA (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Burne-Jones was also closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in Britain. Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice". In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.

In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896. More

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S., 1833-1898
Maria Zambaco, née Cassavetti, in Cupid and Psyche, c. 1870
29.9 x 21.6"
Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss

This very personal portrait shows Maria with Cupid and his arrow, the message attached to which reads, 'Mary Aetat XXVI August 7th 1870 EBJ pinxit'. She holds a medieval manuscript which contains a minature painting of his Chant d'Amour, emphasizing the ambuiguity of the pleasure and pain of his relationship with the sitter. More

Maria Zambaco (29 April 1843, London – 14 July 1914, Paris), was a British artist and model of Greek descent. She was favoured by the Pre-Raphaelites.

Maria was a daughter of wealthy Anglo-Hellenic merchant Demetrios Cassavetti. After inheriting her father's fortune in 1858, she was able to lead a more independent life and was known to go unchaperoned while still unmarried. She dedicated herself to art, and studied at the Slade School under Alphonse Legros and under Auguste Rodin in Paris. She worked as a sculptor in the 1880s.

Familiar within the circles of the Pre-Raphaelites for her dark red hair and pale skin, her most notable modelling was for the British artist Edward Burne-Jones. She also sat as a model for the American Whistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

She married Dr Zambaco in 1860, initially living with him in France. She had a son and a daughter by him. The marriage was not a success and she moved back to live with her mother in London in 1866.

Burne-Jones first met her in 1866, when her mother commissioned him to paint her as Cupid and Psyche, and they had an affair which lasted until at least January 1869 and they stayed in contact after. In 1869, Edward Burne-Jones attempted to leave his wife for her, which caused a great scandal. Maria entreated him to commit suicide with her by laudanum overdose by the canal in Little Venice and the police had to be called. After they broke up, Maria continued to appear in Burne-Jones' paintings as a sorceress or a temptress, such as his last major work of her, The Beguiling of Merlin, and the controversial Phyllis and Demophoön, which was removed from display at the Royal Watercolour Society. Friends of the Burne-Jones family, such as Rosalind Howard cut Maria socially.

She died in Paris in 1914 and her body was returned for interment in the family sarcophagus at the Greek Orthodox necropolis of the South Metropolitan Cemetery at Norwood, where she is recorded under her maiden name. More

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S., 1833-1898
titled on the reverse; 'Braided Hair'
25 by 17cm., 10 by 6½in.

 A drawing of the face of Fortuna in The Wheel of Fortune.

Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898)
The Wheel of Fortune, c. 1863
Musée d'Orsay.

"My wheel of Fortune is a true-to-life image; it comes to fetch each of us in turn, then it crushes us," was Burne-Jones' heartfelt or disillusioned comment. The work is a perfect example of his taste for classical myths and medieval legends, which mingle uneasy sensuality and a feeling of disquiet, which make his symbolism particularly bitter.

This Fortune is one of his most powerful compositions. The wheel spans the whole painting from top to bottom, turning in a relentless rise and fall, while the implacable, gigantic goddess forms a pendant for the powerless mortals: a slave, a king and a poet. More

Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898)
The Garden Court (from the Briar Rose series)
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

This painting is a version of the third of four large works illustrating the fairy tale 'Sleeping Beauty'. The complete series now hangs at Buscot Park in Berkshire. William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones' lifelong friend and colleague, composed a verse for each scene and for this one he wrote: 'The maiden pleasance of the land, Knoweth no stir of voice or hand, No cup the sleeping waters fill, The restless shuttle lieth still. More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882
coloured chalk on pale green paper
27.5 by 33cm., 18¾ by 13in.

Although a highly-finished work of art in its own right, this beautiful drawing was made as a study for Rossetti’s large oil painting A Vision of Fiammetta of 1878 depicting a statuesque woman in a red gown standing among the boughs of an apple-tree. 

The model for A Vision of Fiammetta was Marie Spartali Stillman, arguably Rossetti’s most beautiful model in later years who by this time had become a close friend and protégé. Although she posed as the subsidiary figures of attendants in several works by Rossetti, including Dante’s Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (Walker Art Gallery) and The Bower Meadow (Manchester City Art Gallery) . More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
A Vision of Fiammetta, c. 1878
Oil on canvas
146 × 90 cm (57.5 × 35.4 in)
Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection

Marie Euphrosyne Spartali Stillman, later Stillman (10 March 1844 – 6 March 1927), was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent, arguably the greatest female artist of that movement. During a sixty-year career, she produced over one hundred works, contributing regularly to exhibitions in Great Britain and the United States.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879)
Marie Spartali Stillman, Date 1868
Albumen silver print from wet-collodion glass negative
The Art Institute of Chicago

Maria Spartali was the eldest daughter of a wealthy merchant. The family lived in their Georgian country house with a marble-pillared circular hallway, on Clapham Common, known as 'The Shrubbery' with a huge garden and views over the Thames and Chelsea. In the summer months, they moved to their country house on the Isle of Wight.

It was in the house of the Greek businessman A.C. Ionides (1810–1890) at Tulse Hill, in south London, that Marie and her sister Christine (1846–1884) met Whistler and Swinburne for the first time. They were dressed in white with blue ribbon sashes. Swinburne was so overcome that he said of Spartali: "She is so beautiful that I want to sit down and cry". 

Marie Spartali Stillman (1844–1927)
Madonna Pietra degli Scrovegni, c. 1884
Watercolor, gouache and gum arabic
78.5 × 61.1 cm (30.9 × 24.1 in)
]Walker Art Gallery

Spartali studied under Ford Madox Brown for several years from 1864. Rossetti, on hearing that she was to become a pupil to Madox Brown, insisted that have first shy at her in the way of sitting. She first sat for him in 1867. 

She modelled for: Brown; Burne-Jones (The Mill); Julia Margaret Cameron; Rossetti (A Vision of Fiammetta, Dante's Dream, The Bower Meadow); and Spencer Stanhope.

In 1871, against her parents' wishes, she married American journalist and painter William J. Stillman. She was his second wife, his first having committed suicide two years before. The couple had posed for Rossetti in his famous Dante pictures. He first worked for the American Art Magazine, The Crayon. His later job was a foreign correspondent for The Times. His job as a foreign correspondent resulted in the couple dividing their time between London and Florence from 1878 to 1883, and then Rome from 1889 to 1896. She also travelled to America, and was the only Britain-based Pre-Raphaelite artist to work in the United States. More

Acknowledgement: Sotheby's

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