Saturday, March 29, 2014

John William Waterhouse Paintings

This is a blog devoted to beauty and I haven't done a post on one of my favorite artists, John Waterhouse. My mom liked him first and had paintings around the house. She liked him because she says I look like one of his redheads! I wish I did! Maybe if I was thinner I would. I think they are beautiful! He loved to paint redheads, so I like that. He also was inspired by romantic stories, mythology, and the medieval times. I like those things too.

Here are some beautiful paintings by him, and what the paintings are depicting.

A Naiad, 1893; a water nymph approaches the sleeping Hylas. Hylas was a youth that was the companion of Heracles. He was abducted by water nymphs. This is from classical Greek mythology.

Psyche Opening the Golden Box, 1903: This is from a 2nd century latin novel, Metamorphoses. Psyche was a princess and she was so beautiful that people prayed to her instead of Venus. Venus was mad and sent Cupid to kill her, but he fell in love with her instead. She has to do a series of tasks, sort of like Heracles. One of the task is to bring a box to Venus that has something inside that will make her more beautiful. But she gets too curious and wants the beauty for herself, so she opens the box. She finds nothing inside by an "infernal and Stygian sleep" which sends her into a deep and unmoving torpor.

Echo and Narcissus, 1903. This is from the poem by Ovid, Metamorphoses. Narcissus was a beautiful young man, and all the nymphs and women fell in love with him, but he rejected them all. Echo was one of the nymphs rejected and she was so mad, she got him to a pool and he fell in love with his own reflection!

I don't know the story of this painting.

This is called Boreas. It is depicting the north wind.

This is Ophelia Lying in a Meadow. Ophelia is from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

This is the Siren. In Greek mythology the sirens lured men to their death on the sea.

This is Ariadne.

Here is another painting of Ophelia.

This is Miranda.

This is Pandora opening the box that led out all the bad things into the world. She wasn't supposed to open it, but she was curious.

This is Fair Rosamund. She was a real woman famed for her beauty and mistress of King Henry II of England. Her name was Rosamund Clifford.

This is Decameron. It is based on a collection of novellas by the 14th century Italian author, Giovanni Boccaccio. "The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city."

This is another painting about Hylas and the Nymphs.

This is another picture of Miranda. This is based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. There is a ship that is shipwrecked, and Miranda has lived her whole life alone on this island with her dad.

Another picture of Ophelia. In Hamlet, she commits suicide by drowning in the lake.

This is Circe's Thought.

This is Penelope and her suitors. This is from The Odyssey. Odysseus is lost at sea, and in the mean time his wife has all these suitors after her, but she is faithful to her husband and believes he will return home.

Here is another picture of a Siren. It looks like a mermaid to me.

This is Tristan and Isolde with Potion. This was an adulterous love affair that inspired the story of Launcelot and Guinevere. I love the paintings with the knights!

This is another painting of Psyche entering Cupid's garden.

I love this painting! She is wrapping her hair around the knight. This is called La Belle Dame Sans Merci. That is French for the Beautiful Lady Without Mercy. It is based on a poem.
This is one of my all time favorite paintings. It is called Lamia and her Knight.

John William Waterhouse did more paintings then this. These are just some I found that I like.


  1. Hi! I really liked your post :D although the image no.23 (the one with the troubadour and the lady) is a painting by Edmund Leighton, called "Tristan and Iseult"


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