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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Edward Burne-Jones

I prefer not to know the "meaning" of a painting before I see it.  To me it dilutes the experience to be too aware of the subject matter from the beginning.  If I have to know the story it represents or biographical information about the artist then the picture is not successful.  To literally tell a story is an illustrator's job, but a painter's job is to transcend and to touch.  The subject is handled with such poetry and such universality that any person at any time could understand it.  

Of course it can enrich and inform the experience the more one knows about the story, the historical context, the artist's life and philosophy, and the process behind the work, but I believe it is the immediate gut reaction that tells the most about the true meaning of a piece, and this is what Edward Burne-Jones does best.  It does not matter to me whether these are biblical or pagan themes, whether he was a symbolist or a pre-Raphaelite.  They are poems of line and form and transcend the superficial.

Every person dreams of flying.

One of the most poetic drawings I've seen.  

So wonderfully ghost-like.  It would almost be a shame to see it finished

Two versions of "Phyllis and Demophoon" with preliminary sketch.  It's always nice to see process work.  It appears he's using the model to work out the anatomy difficult areas but doing a large part of the work from his imagination.

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