Saturday, March 5, 2011


Tonight I can't stop pouring over JW Waterhouse paintings. He's my favorite artist ever, not just my favorite Pre-Raphaelite. His subjects include Psyche, Echo and Narcissus, Circe, Apollo and Daphne, Adonis, Hylas, Medea, La Belle Dame sans Merci, Nymphs and Orpheus, Ariadne, Boreas, Zephyrus, Ophelia, Pandora, Odysseus, Penelope... I adore every painting he created. I'm a literalist. I melt over paintings that look like they could be photographs. The subject matter, from Greco-Roman to Shakespearean, well, that's a double bonus. Here are my favorites, likely for obvious reasons: Sorceress.
How often have I sat at my table, magic books open, with a half spilled potion spilled across my papers? Well, not often, but it could certainly happen. Makes me wonder why she's so distracted. Guess you can't dry over spilled philtre.

This one is called The Household Gods, or,
Offerings to the Gods
It's a Lare Shrine! The girls in the painting look positively bored as they make what seem like daily offerings. It would be my favorite but the bored expression ruins it for me. Goes to show that religion isn't fun if it's forced, no matter which one it is. Magic Circle is certainly a favorite. I have a reproduction of this one in my home. This is a link to the picture. You can zoom in on a lot of the detail. While many other paintings play on themes of deities and subjects Pagans love , it's all rather ambiguous. Not this one. This is straight up, unabashed Witchcraft. I adore what she is wearing, the flowers, the sickle, the jewelry, the snake around her neck, the cave and the people inside of it, watching her... The circle is being cast and the smoke is taking shape. The circle itself is glowing. Notice the crows and frog gathered outside the circle that has been drawn, not daring to cross it, recognizing it as a boundary.The crow on the left looks like it's perched on a half buried skull. I want that dress. The detail on it is incredible. The only thing I don't like is the bleak landscape. All of his pictures are so rich in color that in comparison, I just want more of his greens, reds and blues, while at the same time I know they would be out of place here.

When you have some time, check out When we have even more time, let's make a pilgrimage the The Tate in London and see the real thing ;)


  1. I love Waterhouse. Not just his subjects but that style. Thanks for posting!

  2. I also love Waterhouse - and all the Pre-Raphaelites. Wonderful style and subjects.