Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

These Romantic Paintings Of Edward Burne-Jones Will Make You Miss Middle-Ages

Middle Ages

These Romantic Paintings Of Edward Burne-Jones Will Make You Miss Middle-Ages

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet ARA was a British artist and designer closely associated with Pre-Raphaelite movement. Arthurian Legends, knights and chivalry were among artist’s favorite subjects. Everything started when Alfred Tennyson published “Morte d’Arthur”  in 1842. When Burne-Jones read it together with William Morris, it shooked him to the core. “Nothing was ever like Morte d’Arthur – I don’t mean any book or any one poem – something that can never be written, I mean, and can never go out of the heart.” – wrote the artist. In this article we present five Burne-Jones’ paintings with knights, magic and romantic vibe that will make you miss Arthurian Legends. Enjoy!

1. Beguiling of Merlin

Edward Burne-Jones, Beguiling of Merlin, 1874, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Edward Burne-Jones, Beguiling of Merlin, 1874, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The painting depicts a scene from an Arthurian legend in which Merlin became infatuated with Lady of the Lake, Nimue (also called Nimiane, Vivian or Vivien). She profited from his infatuation by learning his skills in enchantment. Here she is shown sending Merlin into a deep sleep. The model for Nimue was Maria Zambaco, Burne-Jones’ mistress from 1866 to 1872. Maria was a member of the Ionides family who were important patrons of the contemporary art in 19th century London.

2. The Merciful Knight

Edward Burne-Jones , The Merciful Knight, 1863, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham

Edward Burne-Jones, The Merciful Knight, 1863, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham


This painting is based on an 11th-century legend retold by Sir Kenelm Digby in Broadstone of Honour. Its hero is a Florentine knight named John Gualbert (in Italian: Giovanni Gualberto) who was also a saint and the founder of the Vallumbrosan Order. As the inscription on the painting says: of a knight who forgave his enemy when he might have destroyed him and how the image of Christ kissed him in token that his acts had pleased God.

One Good Friday Giovanni was entering Florence accompanied by armed followers, when in a narrow lane he came upon a man who had killed his brother. He was about to kill the man in revenge, when the other fell down on his knees with arms outstretched in the form of a cross and begged for mercy in the name of Christ who had been crucified on that day. John forgave him. He entered the Benedictine Church at San Miniato to pray, and the figure on the crucifix bowed its head to him in recognition of his generosity. This is why he was canonised.

3. The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon

Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, c. 1881–1898, Ponce Museum of Art, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, c. 1881–1898, Ponce Museum of Art, Ponce, Puerto Rico


This massive painting measures 279 cm × 650 cm, and it is widely considered to be Burne-Jones’s magnum opus. Burne-Jones worked on this painting for thirteen years. Arthur became increasingly autobiographical for the artist and Burne-Jones identified himself with Arthur.  As he said: “above all the picture is about silence.” The 1880s brought the deaths of Burne-Jones’s close friends. As they died, the artist experienced mounting isolation and painful awareness of his own mortality. According to the legend, King Arthur never died, but slept on in Avalon awaiting the moment when the nation most needed his return.

4. Sleeping Beauty The Rose Bower from the Legend of Briar Rose

Edward Burne-Jones, Sleeping Beauty The Rose Bower from the Legend of Briar Ros, 1885-1890, Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, England

Edward Burne-Jones, Sleeping Beauty The Rose Bower from the Legend of Briar Rose, 1885-1890, Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, England

The Legend of Briar Rose is the title of a series of paintings by Burne-Jones completed between 1885 and 1890. The title of the series comes from the version presented by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of 1812. The four original paintings – The Briar Wood, The Council Chamber, The Garden Court and The Rose Bower – and the additional ten adjoining panels, are located at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, England.


The sleeping beauty lies on her bed surrounded by her slumbering attendants. The rose is seen encircling the drapery in the background.

Under The Rose Bower, the inscription reads:


Here lies the hoarded love, the key
To all the treasure that shall be;
Come fated hand the gift to take
And smite this sleeping world awake.”

5. The Love Song

Edward Burne-Jones, The Love Song, 1868–77, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Edward Burne-Jones, The Love Song, 1868–77, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Burne-Jones associated this painting with a refrain from a Breton folk ballad: “Alas, I know a love song, / Sad or happy, each in turn.” When the picture was first exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1878, the novelist Henry James admiringly compared it to “some mellow Giorgione or some richly-glowing Titian.”

Find out more:

     


Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Middle Ages

  • Portrait of Elena Luksch-Makowsky Portrait of Elena Luksch-Makowsky

    dailyart

    Elena Luksch-Makowsky: From St. Petersburg, through Vienna to Hamburg

    By

    On the 24th of September, the Belvedere Museum in Vienna opened an in-sight exhibition dedicated to Elena Luksch-Makowsky, a Russian painter and sculptor. She was one of the central figures of the Vienna Secession. The exhibition is a sequel to the City of Women exhibition at the...

  • 19th Century

    Clark Art Institute Highlights

    By

    The Clark Art Institute, often referred to as “The Clark,” was founded in 1950 to house the extensive art collection of Sterling and Francine Clark. The galleries opened to the public in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1955. The museum has since expanded its original collections through new...

  • 19th Century

    Why Don’t We Study Frédéric Bazille’s Works?

    By

    Undoubtedly you all have heard of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley or Edouard Manet. Yet, fewer of you will have heard of Frédéric Bazille, a friend and fellow painter of all of the above. Hence, we ask, why did he disappear from the mainstream history...

  • 19th Century

    Art History 101: Self-Portraits You Should Know

    By

    Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Self-portraits are closely tied with the existence of mirrors. Although mirrors have existed since antiquity, during the renaissance cheaper and better mirrors made in Venice came onto the market. This was one of the reasons...

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: Winslow Homer, Summer Squall

    By

    The crashing waves roar with a deafening thunder, and the foamy spray flies with a quickening speed. Great gusts of wind blow the waters over the rocks and over the sea shore. A storm of monstrous size lands aground and wreaks havoc upon humanity and nature....

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy