Monday, 31 October 2011

Burne-Jones at the V&A museum

I saw two paintings by Burne-Jones (1833-1898) at the V&A museum in London (England). The main one, titled “The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River” is located in room 81, on the East wall.

The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River - oil on canvas (90.8 x 197.5cm) by Edward Burne-Jones

This painting is signed and dated 1870. It was purchased by Constantine Alexander Ionides in April 1882 for £905 and bequeathed to the museum by Ionides in 1901.
There is a strong inspiration from the by Italian Renaissance art. The notice by the painting indicates that “The models were friends and relatives of the patron and collector Constantine Alexander Ionides. His cousin Mary Zambaco, who posed for the woman on the far left, was for a time Burne-Jones's lover.”

The Feast of Peleus - Oil on canvas by Edward Burne-Jones and studio

This painting is both unfinished and by Burne-Jones and studio rather than the artist alone. This probably explains why the V&A relegated it to a wall at the bottom of a staircase…

According to the notice, the painting “shows the wedding feast of Peleus, King of Thessaly, and the sea-goddess Thetis, which was attended by the Olympian gods. Zeus sits centrally at the table. Only Eris, the goddess of Discord, was not invited, and her unexpected appearance (at the far right here) causes evident dismay among the guests. Eris went on to provoke a quarrel at the feast which eventually led to the Tojan War.”The painting was given by Sir Philip Burne-Jones and Mrs J.W. Mackail in 1920.

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