Two Paintings

Did you notice that I changed the picture above? It used to be a drawing Kendrick made of me, with a green background. Now it’s John William Waterhouse’s painting of Miranda from The Tempest. I have to admit, I chose it because I thought Miranda looked a little like me, with the red hair and her profile at that angle. I sort of have that nose.

But I also liked the picture of the ship that is so obviously breaking up in the distance. You see, it looks like a disaster. It looks as though the ship is going down, and everyone on it is going to perish. But we know that’s not what’s going to happen. This isn’t the end of the story but the beginning. Miranda is looking at the brave new world she’s going to discover, a world with narrative in it. A world in which she will be able to act, after a period of statis.

I liked that. And so I chose the painting as my icon of sorts. I thought it went well with the green background, which is a William Morris design from the same era. What do you think? Is it too busy for my website? Or is it an improvement? I keep looking at it, trying to decide.

Here’s the entire painting, in case you wanted to know what it looks like:

I mentioned the other website I created this weekend, Poems of the Fantastic and Macabre. For that website, I chose a different Waterhouse painting, one of the sirens singing to Odysseus. That makes sense thematically too, right? Because singing has always been used as a metaphor for poetry, which started in song, and the sirens are also frightening – as poetry sometimes is, because it has such power to allure and alter us. So the sirens are both fantastical and macabre. Here is that painting, in case you wanted to see the whole thing:

Aren’t they beautiful? I get so much out of art from this particular period. I’m not sure why, but it makes me feel – more alive, more imaginative, more creative. Sort of Paterian, actually!

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5 Responses to Two Paintings

  1. Nathan says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I could stare at Waterhouse all day long. The new art suits your site perfectly.

  2. Thanks, Nathan! I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  3. You wrote, “But I also liked the picture of the ship that is so obviously breaking up in the distance. You see, it looks like a disaster. It looks as though the ship is going down, and everyone on it is going to perish. But we know that’s not what’s going to happen. This isn’t the end of the story but the beginning.”

    “We know that’s not what’s going to happen”: Only if we know what the title of the painting is. I didn’t know, never having seen this before (I’m not much of a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites), and I thought the painting portrayed a Spanish Armada ship breaking up on the coast of Ireland. Although some Spaniards did survive, most didn’t. So it was the end of the story for them.

  4. And, I just discovered your site today courtesy of a recommendation in a thread on John Scalzi’s “Whatever,” so I’ve been catching up. Excellent content; I’ll be back for sure.

  5. Hi Karen! The woman in the painting is Miranda, at the beginning of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. What Waterhouse is showing us is basically how the play starts, with the ship carrying Ferdinand going down near Prospero’s island. So it’s the beginning of Miranda’s real life, in a sense.

    Glad you like the site! 🙂

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