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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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Introduction xxv

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i encompass those paintings executed or developed in a sequence where a mythological story begins within a painting and continues evolving throughout a series of paintings, thus creating a visual text. Then, the mythological story is united and interconnected within the cycle, forming a beautiful, visual woven tapestry. The mythological story is a sequential visual narrative or history painting united and interconnected within the cycle, such as seen in The Story of Troy of 1870–72 (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery); The Story of Cupid and Psyche of 1872–81 (Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery); The Story of Perseus and Andromeda of 1875–78 (Tate Britain in London, Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery); The Story of Pygmalion of 1868–78 (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery); and The Romaunt of the Rose (Love and the Pilgrim) of 1877–97 (Tate Britain, London, and Dallas Museum of Art, TX). The other type of mythical or narrative representations is the solo painting, which not only unveils a story but also reflects cultural attitudes of the fin-de- siècle, in particular, the image of the female as ingénue or femme fatale, e.g., Love Among the Ruins of 1870–94 (Wightwich Manor, Wolvehampton); Lament of 1865–66 (William Morris Gallery, London); Chant d’Amour of 1868–77 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, and Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MA); The Sirens of 1875–80 (Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota,...

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