Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lady of Shallot - John Atkinson Grimshaw

Lady of Shallot - John Atkinson Grimshaw
Have you ever wished you'd been born in another time and place? The land of Camelot perhaps? Do you look at certain paintings, longingly wishing to be transported there through a time machine? This is the way some paintings affect me. Creativity has the power to transcend and transport the imagination, and it is a wonderful thing!

My absolute favourite Pre-Raphealite painting is based on Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem, The Lady of Shallot and is so beautifully put to music by Lorenna McKennit. John Atkinson Grimshaw did his own exceptional  interpretation of the poem in his paintings.
John Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893

I've have always been particularly partial to the English landscape painter John Constable, and for that matter, passionate about the art work of all the Romantic painters.
When I look at a Constable painting, I want to be right there in those expansive English countryside fields, with the grand trees, and skies, filled with bilious stormy clouds, and maybe some Beethoven's Pastoral No 6 Symphony in the background. Just kidding about that part!

I especially admire Constable's ability to render the countryside. Besides his skill, exceptional talent, and ability to paint, the reason I identify with his subject matter, I expect has to do with my love of the land, and why I live in the countryside myself for over 20 years.

Constable's objective to express emotion through landscape was definitely accomplished as seen in his beautiful renderings, study of trees, clouds and the land. He obviously had a deep love for the land and the environment. This is why I think I identify so strongly with him.

In the past , I'd never aspired to be a landscape painter, because the undertaking impressed me as being too overwhelming, and daunting. I thought I'd surely get bored, and loose interest, or so I thought. I have since changed my opinion. I have created a few landscape paintings of the local scenes, where I live.

An artist can't help but be influenced by their environment, and have it emerge in their subject matter in some manner. There are however so many varied ways to interpret landscape. I don't know if I'll ever take up full fledged interest in landscape as a subject matter, but  I certainly do love seeing the variety of landscape painters and the myriad of expressions to be found in their art.

Today I found out about a rather overlooked artist. The Victorian-Era painter, John Atkinson Grimshaw  Sept 6-1836 - Oct 13 - 1893,  who created numerous landscapes, portraits, and some still life.  He was very influenced by the Pre-Raphealites, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt. These painters appeal to my hopeful romantic nature. His moody atmospheric expressions of England, in the moonlight, are absolutely captivating.

Knowing my family genealogy, on my mother's side, who's family came from England, specifically Yorkshire, where many of these painting scenes were depicted by John Atkinson Grimshaw, allow me to virtually experience in a small way what it must have been like to be there in that historical time and place, which completely captures my imagination.

My most favourite Pre-Raphealite painting, The Lady of Shallot, by John William Waterhouse. Recreating in his narrative work, the Victorian poet's poem written by, Alfred Lord Tennyson. This poem was also put to music by Lorenna McKennitt.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the Pre-Raphaelites!

You remind me that I should put a couple of Lorena's songs on my iTunes wish list. I love The Lady of Shalott--never much bothered with the poem until i heard her singing it. Also The Blacksmith and The Highwayman which was a poem my Dad used to read to us when I was young.

So many. It,s rather a shame that these older poems are not popular today.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for visiting again and for your great comment. Loreena's one of my very favourites. Especially because she gives life to these poems in a way that everyone can come to know,or experience them in a new way. Check out John Donne's Dark Night of the Soul.

Love the Blacksmith and the Highwayman!