Sunday 19 December 2010

Super Sunday #5 ♥

so... only a few more sleeps before Christmas! is anyone else ridiculously excited about it??? 

because i sure am!

oh i'm still on 49 followers by the way!!! 

but when i hit 50 the giveaway will get under way, i'm considering throwing in a few other bits as well, possibly some festive stuff maybe some sweeties, i'm not sure yet! 50 fans will reveal the answer...

anyway, you may have noticed that today is a Sunday which can mean only one thing... it's time for another 'Super Sunday ♥' post!

right well, this week i once again toyed with a lot of different ideas for the post.

the truth is, there are so many people that i think deserve a 'Super Sunday' dedication that it's tough to choose just one! 

so far we've had two amazing designers (Lulu Guinness + Christian Louboutin) a super duper comedy genius (Seth Macfarlane) and a gorgeous burlesque starlet (Dita Von Teese)

so this week i thought i'd take a different route with the subject matter!

as you may know, i'm an Art Student and i'm also an Art History nerd (i must confess) so i thought this week i'd share some of my favourite paintings with you from what i consider to be one of my favourite periods of Art...

the Pre-Raphealite era (as far as i'm concerned it's closely tied on the top spot with the Renaissance so expect a post about that at some point as well!)

before you read the post i must warn you... i do tend to go on a bit about Art so you know... you have been warned!

anyway, back to the post,  now i know that most of you out there will probably despise Pre-Raphaelite art because it's so idealized and romantic but i don't particularly care. everyone likes different styles of art, some people adore all things contemporary, others are entranced by all things classical (go on... guess which one i am!)

nowadays most people consider their work to be too, 'chocolate boxy' and find the romanticism of the pieces to be plain annoying.

however i am NOT one of these people and as it is, i find their work absolutely stunning!

this post won't contain work by ALL of the known Pre-Raphaelites, in true arty blogger style i shall only include my favourites, so (try to) enjoy...

i won't go on about the beginnings of the Pre-Raphs too much, in fact i won't go on about them at all! if you've never heard of the Pre-Raphaelites before, may i direct you to THIS Google page - HERE

and if you have heard of them, just sit back and enjoy the show!

so let's kick things off, first up we have... Ophelia by John Everett Millais

based on the death/suicide of Ophelia from William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'

Ophelia has always been a character that has inspired artists, in fact most of the Pre-Raphs had a go at painting her at least once... or twice. or many times depending on the artist! 

for example, here's Arthur Hughes (another Pre-Raph) version of Ophelia

there are dozens of beautiful versions of Ophelia yet Millais' painting still remains my favourite. 

i went to see it last year at the Tate Britain in London and all i could do was sit in front of it and take in as much detail as my tiny brain could manage. like most paintings, this was so much more beautiful up close and in the flesh.

there's just something about the colour and the textures in the painting. her brocade dress, the bright flowers in her hands, the ghostly paleness of her skin! 

there's so much symbolism in the painting i could stare at it for hours! 

ok next up we have some pieces by John William Waterhouse. now i'm not a fan of all of his work but he did like to paint a lot of scenes from Greek Mythology and it may come as no surprise to you to realise that i am a huuuuge Greek Mythology fan and part time nerd! 

i actually studied it for the IB, in fact my entire sketchbook was about the Pre-Raphaelites and my 4000 word extended essay was on the subject of artists interpretations of Ophelia. i was the only person in my year to choose Art as the essay subject, see... i told you i was an Art History nerd!!!

anyway i'm rambling, back to the pictures. 

this painting is called Gather ye Rosebuds. the colours in this piece captivate me in much the same way Millais' Ophelia does. the flowers, the delicate dresses, the water flowing past. there's something about it that i love. 

in contrast this painting is so much darker, not just in colour but in theme. this one is titled, Nymphs finding the head of Orpheus and yep... you guessed it, it's based on a Greek Myth.

Orpheus was a Lyre player and during his wedding, his beautiful Eurydice fell onto a nest of vipers and died of a fatal bite. Orpheus was so distraught he actually travelled to the Underworld to get her soul back from Hades. his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone (a supposedly impossible task).

 they let him have Eurydice's soul on the condition that was not to turn back and look at his wife as they left the Underworld otherwise she would be trapped down there forever. as the neared the Upper world Orpheus glanced back and Eurydice was lost forever. Orpheus ended up being torn limb from limb by a group of maenads hence his head being found by these nymphs in the above painting.

see, i told you most of the Myths don't have happy endings!

this one is called Windswept and it has the same effect on me. she just looks so graceful walking barefoot through a windswept field, clutching her flowers and trying to keep her hair tame. i love the soft pink of her dress in contrast with the billowing sleeves of her gown. it's so bewitching!

ok, in light of the tragic Greek Myths, here's another Pre-Raph who liked to paint Mythology, only guess what... this story actually has a happy ending!


Edward Burne Jones painted a series of four pictures based on the myth of Pygmalion. the whole set of paintings are in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and i must spend a good half-an-hour just standing in from of them every time i visit the place! they are just... gorgeous!

there's a short poem that goes with the paintings, a line for each piece.

the heart desires,

the hand refrains.

the godhead fires,

the soul attains.

ok and now for the paintings, then i'll explain the story...

ok story time...

basically, Pygmalion was a young artist, a sculptor, he was handsome and kind and won the hearts of women every day, but he wasn't interested in any of the girls in his town. he imagined a woman, the most beautiful, pure, heavenly woman in the world but of course she didn't exist. (the heart desires) one day he set about carving his perfect woman out of ivory (some say marble but who knows) 

he created a beautiful sculpture and as he gazed upon it day by day he began to fall in love with his ivory woman. his hands had carved the statue and yet he could not bear to touch it (the hand refrains)

one night, during the festival of Aphrodite (Venus) he tried to pray for his wish to be granted, he wished that his perfect statue could become a real woman of flesh and blood. he left offerings for Aphrodite but could not bring himself to request his wish. Aphrodite looked down from the heavens, as the Goddess of love and beauty she took pity on Pygmalion and his cherished love of the statue, while he slept she came down to Earth and touched the statue instantly making her real (the godhead fires)

when Pygmalion awoke he found his dream woman waiting for him. her name was Galatea and she was everything he'd ever wanted. Galatea was already in love with Pygmalion and had been from the moment he'd carved her, they were married and lived happily ever after. (the soul attains)

wow can you believe it... a Greek myth with a HAPPY ending! incredible!

ok i've gone on and on for long enough so to finish we have a few paintings by one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 

they're all by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and first up is Proserpine

i also saw this painting last year at the Tate and i couldn't get over how deep and luscious the colours were. the pomegranate practically glowed in her hand, it was just gorgeous. 

this painting is based on the Greek Myth about the Goddess Persephone being kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld, she knew that if she ate any food from the underworld she would be trapped there but Hades finally tempted her with a fresh pomegranate. 

i shan't bore you with the rest of the tale but like most Greek Myths, it doesn't have an entirely happy ending!

this next one is another Rossetti piece, the ethereally prepossessing Lady Lilith

i think what really captures me about his work is the way he always paints his figures with such pale skin and bright red lips. he may have been painting his girls with long flowing robes and luscious curly locks but in a way, he was using the basic building blocks of a Pinup picture! 

beguiling, slightly provocative poses combined with innocent expressions mixed in with bee stung lips, untamed hair and flawless complexions. the only difference is he didn't paint them in overly revealing outfits. 

his paintings are so beautiful though! he was renowned for getting into trouble, always gathering debts and falling in love with his models, he was a romantic, a poet, an idealist. a charismatic charmer who could talk himself out of trouble as much as he got himself into it!

many art critics of the day scorned his work and called him talentless yet i think he's undoubtedly got to be my absolute favourite artist out of all the Pre-Raphaelites! 

and do you know what... that's it!

yes really!

you were warned, once i start going on about Art i like it's hard to get me to stop! i do hope this post hasn't been to harrowing for you, i'll try to post about a singer or an actress or a desgner or something next week ok! promise x

* * *

i STILL haven't left the house!!!

the snow is keeping me house bound which is super fun... NOT

also, Mike STILL hasn't made it home! poor sod has pretty much spent the past two days at Gatwick airport (+ a trip back to uni overnight) trying to get home!

another friend was trapped at Heathrow bound for Phoenix, Arizona and plenty of others are stranded across the country trying to fly back to the Island for Christmas!

i wish them all luck in getting home, i hate being stuck in airports due to cancelled flights so i can empathize entirely x

that's about it for today, time for me to go and cook some tea and maybe crack on with a bit more embroidery

until next time!

that's all folks...


Mange tak og farvel

(that's thank you and goodbye in Danish on behalf of Denmark, never been to Denmark but thank you, tak xX)