09 paintings on Halloween night with John William Waterhouse, Mariska Karto, Johfra Bosschart, Francisco de Goya, Jan or Frans Verbeeck, Norman Lindsay, Gustave Moreau, and Franz von Stuck, with Footnotes

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
The Magic Circle, c. 1886

Oil on canvas
height: 182.9 cm (72 in); width: 127 cm (50 in)
Tate Britain

This is one of Waterhouse’s earlier works, and reflects his fascination with the exotic. The woman in this picture appears to be a witch or priestess, endowed with magic powers. Her dress and general appearance is highly eclectic, and is derived from several sources: she has the swarthy complexion of a woman of middle-eastern origin; her hairstyle is like that of an early Anglo-Saxon; her dress is decorated with Persian or Greek warriors. In her left hand she holds a crescent-shaped sickle, linking her with the moon and Hecate. With the wand in her right hand she draws a protective magic circle round her. Outside the circle the landscape is bare and barren; a group of rooks or ravens and a frog — all symbols of evil and associated with witchcraft — are excluded. But within its confines are flowers and the woman herself, objects of beauty. More on this painting

John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 — February 10, 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to his sobriquet “the modern Pre-Raphaelite”. Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend…

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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