J.W. Waterhouse by Peter Trippi
John William Waterhouse is among the most popular Victorian artists, and many of his paintings, such as The Lady of Shalott, Hylas and the Nymphs and Ophelia, have become icons of femininity recognized the world over. With their compelling composition, glowing colour and Impressionist-inflected technique, these paintings are admired for their beauty, yet at the same time they have the power to transport the viewer into a romantic world of myth and legend.
Waterhouse�s depictions of female beauty reflect his age�s complex and ambivalent attitudes towards women, in which Victorian ideals of sentiment and duty commingled with less noble undercurrents of erotic desire and misogyny. In this fresh and innovative study of the artist, Peter Trippi presents a new analysis of Waterhouse�s seductresses, martyrs and nymphs, together with a lively discussion of the cultural and historical circumstances in which these images were painted.
This authoritative volume utilizes new research to provide an accessible biography of the artist and to assess his place in the late Victorian art world. Themes explored include Waterhouse�s passion for Italy, literature and the classical world, his participation in England�s Royal Academy, his stylistic influences and studio practices, and the collectors, dealers, critics and curators who helped make him famous in his day.
Like other Victorian artists, Waterhouse was neglected through much of the twentieth century, but as critical inhibitions have fallen away the revival of his fortune has been dramatic. Today he is again acknowledged as a master painter. Peter Trippi�s monograph provides a timely re-evaluation that combines a close reading of Waterhouse�s imagery with a candid appraisal of his unique talent.