Wednesday, February 03, 2010

THEME THURSDAY: RED



( A view from my red-walled parlor with a print of Rossetti's A Sea Spell above the fireplace mantel. This is my favorite spot to cuddle up with a hot cuppa Earl Grey and a good book. )



Hold then thy heart against her shining hair,
If, by thy fate, she spread it once for thee,
For when she nets a young man in that snare
So twine she him he never may be free.


(Lilith, translated from Goethe by Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

They peer out from beyond their idealized existence, skin luminescent glowing and flawless, faces belonging to goddesses, saints, and sirens. Their heavy lidded eyes stare dreamily off into a distant alter- reality. Their feminine mystique exudes through their full ruby red lips. They manifest into our world by way of rich vibrant paint on canvas, straight out of ancient mythology and medieval legend.

Commanding, powerful bodies, languid swanlike necks, and striking features almost always served as a prerequisite in order for these women to be christened a “stunner”, an affectionate term given to their specially selected models by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, and A. Charles Swinburne. Rossetti and company elevated common, mortal, milliner’s assistants, shop girls, daughters, and mothers to tragic heroines and romanticized deities.

Perhaps the most peculiar feature that these seductive creatures often had in common was their flowing red hair. This was an attribute greatly desired by the above mentioned artists, among others, of the period.

Below is an offering of some of my favorite Rossetti's, all featuring one of his beloved "stunners", Alexa Wilding. She is seen in all her glory with alluring fiery serpentine red hair so often associated with that of a Pre-Raphaelite muse.




(A Sea Spell, Rossetti)


(Veronica Veronese, Rossetti)


(Lady Lilith, Rossetti)


( Roman Window, Rossetti)

25 comments:

Protege said...

I love the art of the Pre-Raphaelites. And your description of it an the paintings takes my breath away.
I have a reproduction of a painting made by Sir Frederic William Burton, called "Meeting On The Turret Stairs". The original hangs in Dublin.
What a wonderful spot in your home...
Beautiful post.
xo
Zuzana

Brian Miller said...

i love artwork of this time period...your description captures the feeling well when i look upon them...

mouse (aka kimy) said...

rossetti is so romantic...one can get lost in all those flowing lines and soft curves

I love red walls....our living room is also painted red, but a bit more paprika-ish

beautiful post.

happy theme thursday

LadyCat said...

Your red walled room is stunning! I love the gold border...are they fleur de lis? And the Rossetti paintings are so beautiful...what an intriguing face. Happt TT

Rebecca said...

Me too, Brian. I would go so far as to say that I'm a tad bit obsessed with the PR's..

Thanks Kimy, Every house should have at least 1 red room:)...

Rossettti's paintings truly epitomize romantic. When I saw "Veronica Veronese" in St. Louis at the Waking Dreams exhibit, I stood before it for the longest time and kept returning. I thought the museum guard was going to ask me to leave after a while but he just smiled and nodded. "Lady Lilith" was also in the same exhibit. I'm also planning to see "Roman Window" in Nashville next month ...I will certainly travel a great distance for Rossetti...He's so worth the effort. :)

Zuzana, I love that painting and would jump at the chance to go to Dublin to see it in person...I will someday:)..

Lady Cat,
Thank you! Yes, indeed they are fleur de lis:)..Very observant of you...BTW, my bedroom is also red...

Jen Chandler said...

These are beautiful and dreamy! I've often wondered what it woudl be like to have my portrait painted and look on myself through the eyes of an artist.

Happy Thursday,
Jen

Betsy said...

Very beautiful...words and paintings. What really caught my eye was the singing canary! :)

Mmm said...

What a fantastic post and so well written too. Loved this line in particular:

"Their feminine mystique exudes through their full ruby red lips."

I don't think women realise just how much they can do that to men. These men knew that allure well and captured it perfectly even though today i would say these women would be considered too strong/masculine looking but these paintings are so beautifully done.

what very cozy room in deed btw. I can see why you like to be there. Lovely.

Stephanie said...

The skin tones on "Sea Spell" are absolutely amazing. Doesn't seem possible to be a painting. I can see why your parlor is a favorite spot!

willow said...

This red post had your name written all over it! Lovely.

Jill said...

The room is beautiful and your painting so lovely. Enjoyed it so much.

Kat said...

oh I absolutely love your post! I took a single course on women and art in university and this bring me back. :) Very nice take on the theme.

AmyLK said...

Lovely art works.

Tom said...

great paintings, and i left the music on while i checked out other TT's. Very soothing...

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

what a lovely post..enjoyed all of it...and this music....oh, how i love it too....

thank you for sharing all of it...

kary

Jasmine said...

So beautiful, words and form. I knew there had to be a fine art inspiration in this week somewhere. Thank you xJ

Terrace Crawford said...

me too, Brian! and I love when artists recapture this time period. thanks for the throwback!

--Terrace Crawford
www.terracecrawford.com
www.twitter.com/terracecrawford

otin said...

That is brilliant artwork! Very stunning!

Blog Princess G said...

Oh.. this is so right up my street! Lovely post, Rebecca.

Jaime said...

i love the sea spell painting

California Girl said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and I'm pleased to read yours. Love the Rosetti paintings, so sensual. I can feel the drapes and the women's hair (almost).

Lived in KY in the late 70's while my husband attended grad school at UK. His family is from there. Lovely state.

I'll be back!

ChaChaneen said...

Oh I lurve Lady Lilith brushing her hair. Just beautiful! Reminds me of my niece and her red hair. Hope your having a great day!

Baino said...

They are delightful. I never realised he used the same model but then I don't think I've ever seen more than one Rosetti next to each other like this. Fantastic. She has quite a modern face in a classic way. Does that make sense?

Rebecca said...

Baino, he used Lizze Siddall( whom he eventually married)Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris, among a couple of others( several of which he had affairs with). My favorite paintings of his are the ones he did with Alexa Wilding.

Yes, it does make sense. Her face is exquisite and timeless.

Mmm said...

Looking forward to seeing your muse...

As I see you have it almost done according to your sidebar! :)