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Edward Burne-Jones’ Mythical Paintings

The Pygmalion of the Pre-Raphaelite Painters

Liana De Girolami Cheney

This book focuses on Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ mythical paintings from 1868 to 1886. His artistic training and traveling experiences, his love for the Greek-sculptress, Maria Zambaco, and his aesthetic sensibility provided the background for these mythical paintings. This book analyzes two main concepts: Burne-Jones’ assimilation of Neoplatonic ideal beauty as depicted in his solo and narrative paintings, and Burne-Jones’ fusion of the classical and emblematic traditions in his imagery.


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Foreword by Alicia Faxon xxi


Foreword Dr. Liana De Girolami Cheney is an Investigadora de Historia de Arte at SIELAE, Universidad de Coruña, Spain, and President of the Association for Textual Scholarship in Art History (ATSAH), received her BS/BA in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Miami, Florida, the MA in History of Art and Aesthetics from the University of Miami, Florida, and PhD in Italian Renaissance and Baroque from Boston University, MA. A Pre- Raphaelite, Renaissance and Mannerism scholar, she has published widely and has given numerous papers on Edward Burne-Jones (1833–98) and Pre- Raphaelite art. In this book she traces the role of mythology in his oeuvre in his retelling of classical and Arthurian myths in his paintings, drawings, and illustrations. We are presented with a fascinating cast of sirens, mermaids, harpies, and lovers such as Cupid and Psyche and Perseus and Andromeda and others. Her knowledge of Renaissance imagery also informs her connection of Burne-Jones to artists such as Botticelli, who inspired some of his mythic images. As Prof. Cheney points out, Burne-Jones’ use of mythology not only retold classic stories but also related these myths to his own life, loves, and era. His use of mythology becomes a saga of love, loss, and triumph in this book. Well documented and scholarly in its approach, Burne-Jones’ Mythical Paintings is a book to be cherished and read not only by devotees of Pre-Raphaelite art but also by anyone interested in nineteenth-century art and culture, the Pre- Raphaelites, or mythology and...

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