dolce far niente

(the sweetness of doing nothing)

Circe

(she's not doing nothing, she's busy being the daughter of the sun, a sorceress best known for her ability to turn men into animals with her magic wand and also renowned for her knowledge of magic and poisonous herbs)

Destiny

(she's not doing nothing, she's busy being a contemplative female at the center of an ambiguous allegorical scene, a beautiful woman staring into the distance; in front of her, an open book, behind her, a large circular mirror - which has an interesting compositional effect: it drastically limits the depth of the scene and blocks the view of the room and of the exterior natural space. . . however, it simultaneously serves as a sort of window because it shows a view of the world outside) (altho the scene seems straightforward, it is filled with inconsistencies and impossibilities and there are many spatial discrepancies - for example, a globe that is reflected in the mirror does not appear in the actual room! the image in the mirror is not realistic: it represents either an unknown future or more likely a vision experienced by the woman with the cup. . . the title of the work, "Destiny," supports this)

Psyche Opening The Golden Box

(she's not busy doing nothing, she's busy being the bride of Cupid and at the same time being seriously troubled. . . her mind seems full of doubts and dread as to whom she is sharing her life with - why can’t she ever see him? is he really a beast who, as her sisters have warned, will one night kill her in her sleep? here we see her with an enchanted vessel that Venus has ordered her to fetch from Proserpine, from which Psyche hopes to steal a bit of allure and thus regain the love of Cupid)

Circe Invidiosa

(she's not doing nothing, she's being a Victorian femme fatale and is in the act of posoining the water that her rival is bathing in. . .)

The Crystal Ball

(she's not doing nothing, she's busy with a crystal ball - crystal balls being used for the process of "seeing", known as "scrying": a magic practice that involves clairvoyance in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and more rarely for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. . .)

(no, I wasn't busy doing nothing; yes, I went to another exhibition! once again at the Royal Academy, but this time John William Waterhouse; as you know, I love the Pre-Raphaelites. . .)

11 comments:

Dave said...

Hmm. Not really my cup of tea either. Give me a nice landscape anyday.

planetcity1 said...

thank you for a wonderful, thought-provoking post...
i loved both the paintings and the text :)

starbender said...

I was wondering if you read cards?

very perceptive!

Mel said...

Wow... I thoroughly enjoyed a visit through Waterhouse's best..well, at least some of them.

I think they're gorgeous. And I like the inconsistencies with Destiny and the story behind Psyche. And that Circe--she's a slick one....LOL

I, Like The View said...

Mel gorgeous is the word

star no, but I like the illustrations. . .

planet good!

Dave I'll look for some landscapes, just for you

zIggI said...

Just call me Circe :)

KAZ said...

Manchester is pre Raphaelite heaven.
Then there's the Ford Madox Brown Murals in the town hall.

Mel said...

Now I'm gonna haffta go looking for whatever Kaz is talking about.

Some kiddos did a wall a couple summers ago--they did a fine job. Of course, it's of corn fields and cows. LOL

I, Like The View said...

that sounds lovely Mel - I long for fields of corn and cows. . .

(seem to recall we discussed Ford Madox Brown a while back after one of my V&A trips, but I can't find it anywhere!)

KAZ one day I'll have to visit!

Circe you have a rival in love? surely not!

katherine. said...

this is a lovely post....the women are universal in many ways...and I so enjoyed reading all of the details...

mig said...

Lovely pictures. Waterhouse was great. Didn't he do Ophelia? One of my favourite paintings ever.