Archive for September 16th, 2013

Julia Margaret Cameron- Whisper of the Muse-Portrait of GF WattsI came across this photo from Julia Margaret Cameron, a Victorian era  British photographer whose work I find tremendously interesting and forward leaning.  I have featured her work here before, with photos titled Sadness and Iago.  This photo from 1865 is titled Whisper of the Muse/Portrait of GF Watts  once again shows off the painterly eye that marks Cameron’s work as she portrays the renowned painter of the time amid two young girls.

I liked the image and it piqued my interest as to GF Watts‘ work.  I had heard the name but couldn’t recall his work so I decided to give a quick look.  An interesting guy, one who fell from favor at one point after his death and has found renewed interest.  Some of his work is Pre-Raphaelite in its appearance, very appealing and beautiful but falling into the genre to the point it became hard to distinguish it from other painters working in the same time.

But there was a piece that really captured my eye.  Titled After the Deluge (The Forty-First Day) it is an almost abstract depiction of the world after the biblical flood, the sun dominating in bursts of warm tones .  It was such an anomalous and powerful piece, more Van Gogh and modern in feel than Pre-raphaelite.  It evokes Mark Rothko, to bring it even further into the future. I found it just amazing.  It was on display at the National Galleries of Scotland last year in an exhibit titled Van Gogh to Kandinsky/ Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910.  This is how they described Watts’ work:

George Frederic Watts took his role as an artist to a high calling, stating: ‘I paint ideas, not things’. For him, landscape provided elements which he could transform to project profound meaning via natural grandeur, as in his large, imposing painting After the Deluge: The Forty-First Day. This simple image – a vast sun hanging over an expanse of calm, unbroken water – is far from a mere sunset; it evokes the cosmic energy of a star.

I love the quote– I paint ideas, not things.  Something to hold to.  Here’s the painting in question:


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