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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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Notes 215


Notes Introduction 1. Rensselaer W. Lee, Ut Pictura Poesis: The Humanistic Theory of Painting (New York: Norton, 1967), Introduction, for a discussion on Horace’s dictum and comparison of poet, painter and musician in Ars poetica, I. 361 and I. 371. See English translation, Horace on Poetry, trans. and ed. C. O. Brink (London: Cambridge University Press, 1971). As it is with a picture, So with a poem; one will attract you more The nearer you stand, another, the farther away. One likes the shadow, another will want to be seen In broad daylight, and has not fear of the critic With all his shrewd insight. One gives pleasure But once only; another will always give pleasure, Though people ask for it back ten times over. 2. G(eorgiana) B(urne)-J(ones), Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, 2 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1904), vol. 2, p. 125; William Gaunt, The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1942), p. 152. See also Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones: A Biography (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1975), p. 16; Robin Spencer, The Aesthetic Movement: Theory and Practice (London: Studio Vista Ltd., 1972), p. 37, and Liana De Girolami Cheney, “Burne-Jones: Mannerist in an Age of Modernism,” in Pre-Raphaelite Art in Its European Context, ed. Susan Casteras and Alicia Faxon (Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Press, Associated University Press, 1994), pp. 103–16. Burne-Jones was aware of Walter Pater’s philosophical writings, particularly Plato and Platonism (London: Macmillan, 1893), pp. 241–44, where Pater discusses Plato’s ideas of Beauty...

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