Sleepless dreams.


Ivan Aivazovsky, Dante shows the artist in the unusual clouds, 1883.

The poet and the actress: Dante Alighieri and Louise Brooks share a moment…

A Young Girl with Swans
Edward Atkinson Hornel

Large (Wikimedia)
John Atkinson Grimshaw’s The Lady of Shalott, circa 1875, marks a slight departure from Grimshaw’s usual gritty industrialized views of London at night.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the sickly gradient of the sky—reflected below in the lucent water—and the softening fogginess of the far bank don’t practically scream his authorship.
The Tate describes a different painting of his “in which all the detail of leaves, twigs, ivy and moss-covered stone is painstakingly shown.” No exception to that rule, here, either: every individual leaf of every botanically accurate plant along the bank stands clearly delineated from its neighbors.
Though it might otherwise seem laughable to claim, as Christie’s does, that “[h]is primary influence was the Pre-Raphaelites,” that naturalism carries the claim even in his cityscapes.
Here, though, the very subject of The Lady of Shalott (a Tennyson poem the Pre-Raphaelites often adapted) supports the link.
On the cursed boat ride carrying her to Camelot, and her death, the Lady of Shalott herself glows—but unlike the grandeur of the usual portrayals, here the setting doesn’t.
It serves a valuable purpose—the tiny dewy spider web parallel to her head suggests her weaving, for example—and its ratty weediness sets her off to lovely effect.
She, like Grimshaw’s London, is beautiful even in her decay.

Marie Gabrielle Capet - Self-Portrait with Two Pupils (1785)

Francesco Cozza, Hagar and the Angel, 1665

Lady Playing a Lute
Jan Mijtens circa 1648
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