Wednesday, February 2, 2011

John Williams Waterhouse

Depicting human drama in two dimensions is a challenge that artists have grappled with prettty much since the beginning of time. I mean, without sound, or movement, how can one really touch each of the senses in a single painting? Sure, methods have been developed to help, like using variable light intensity and colors that suggest a certain mood. But light can't always capture anguish, and there is no color of fear. This is why the work of John Williams Waterhouse has always appealed to me. Waterhouse lived and worked in London at the end of the 19th century, and unlike many of his contemporaries, enjoyed great success in his painting career. Each of the figures in his paintings is engaged in some high drama, and the pain, the fear, the wonder, is aparent in each of the faces he depicts. The mythological and biblical women of Waterhouse's work are beautiful, and perfectly rendered in their highly atmospheric realms. Beside having a real understanding of depicting human emotion, Waterhouse also really knew how to set the scene, creating places of wonder and mystery for his characters while still engaging the viewer with a myriad of textures and colors.

To see more work from J W Waterhouse, check out the website dedicated to his work:

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