Sunday, April 30, 2017

12 Paintings, tales of Mermaids, with Footnotes # 3

John William Whiteley, (1859 - 1936)
A Sail, c. 1898

John William Whiteley, 1859 - 1936, was a British artist at the beginning of the last century. He is known for his paintings of nude figures and landscapes. He exhibited nine works at the Royal Academy between 1882 and 1900 including ‘Under the Cliffs’, ‘A Lullaby’, 'Summer Weather' and ‘Toil and Prayer’.

He was born in 1859 to Henry and Mary Yeardley Whiteley in Wyke, West Yorkshire, and baptized 25 September 1859 at Leeds St Matthew, Yorkshire.

JW Whiteley married Catherine Frances Pickering at Pontefract St Giles and St Mary, Yorkshire. The couple had two children that survived to adulthood: Enid Mary and Wilfred Pickering Whiteley. More John William Whiteley

Koloman Moser, 1868 - 1918
The Mermaid, c. 1914
Oil on canvas

Some of the attributes of mermaids may have been influenced by the Sirens of Greek mythology. Historical accounts of mermaids, such as those reported by Christopher Columbus during his exploration of the Caribbean, may have been inspired by manatees and similar aquatic mammals. While there is no evidence that mermaids exist outside of folklore, reports of mermaid sightings continue to the present day, including 21st century examples from Israel and Zimbabwe. More The Mermaid

Koloman Moser (German: [30 March 1868 – 18 October 1918) was an Austrian artist who exerted considerable influence on twentieth-century graphic art and one of the foremost artists of the Vienna Secession movement and a co-founder of Wiener Werkstätte.

Moser designed a wide array of art works, including books and graphic works from postage stamps to magazine vignettes; fashion; stained glass windows, porcelains and ceramics, blown glass, tableware, silver, jewelry, and furniture. More Koloman Moser

Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky, 1838 - 1915
Mermaids, c. 1879
Oil on canvas 
The State Russian Museum - Saint Petersburg  (Russian Federation)

Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (June 20 1839 — September 17 1915) was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the "Peredvizhniki (Wanderers)", a group of Russian realist artists who formed an artists' cooperative in protest of academic restrictions. Many of his historical paintings, such as The Russian Bride's Attire (1889), showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries. He is often considered a representative of a Salon art.

In 1851 Makovsky entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where he became the top student, easily getting all the available awards. Although art was his passion, he also considered that his mother had wanted him to be a music composer. He set off to look for composers he could refer to, and first went to France. 

In 1858 Makovsky entered the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. From 1860 he participated in the Academy's exhibitions. In 1863 Makovsky and thirteen other students held a protest against the Academy's setting of topics from Scandinavian mythology in the competition for the Large Gold Medal of Academia; all left the academy without a formal diploma.

Makovsky became a member of a co-operative (artel) of artists led by Ivan Kramskoi, typically producing Wanderers paintings on everyday life. From 1870 he was a founding member of the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions. He exhibited his works at both the Academia exhibitions and the Traveling Art Exhibitions of the Wanderers.

A significant change in his style occurred after traveling to Egypt and Serbia in the mid-1870s. His interests changed from social and psychological problems to the artistic problems of colors and shape.

In the 1880s he became a fashioned author of portraits and historical paintings. At the World's Fair of 1889 in Paris he received the Large Gold Medal for his paintings Death of Ivan the Terrible, The Judgement of Paris, and Demon and Tamara. He was one of the most highly appreciated and highly paid Russian artists of the time. Many democratic critics considered him as a renegade of the Wanderers' ideals, producing striking but shallow works, while others see him as a forerunner of Russian Impressionism.

Makovsky was killed in 1915 when his horse-drawn carriage was hit by an electric tram in Saint Petersburg. More Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky

The reverse of a coin of Demetrius III depicts fish-bodied Atargatis
veiled, holding the egg, flanked by barley stalks

The reverse of a coin from Cyrrhestica 
Atargatis riding a lion, wearing a mural crown, and holding a sceptre

Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity, and the Romans called her Dea Syriae ("Syrian goddess"). Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. She is sometimes described as a mermaid-goddess, due to identification of her with a fish-bodied goddess at Ascalon. However, there is no evidence that Atargatis was worshipped at Ascalon, and all iconographic evidence shows her as anthropomorphic More Atargatis

Henry Justice Ford, (1860–1941) 
Listen . Listen . Said The Mermaid To The Prince
illustration from the fairy tale The Mermaid and the Boy

Henry Justice Ford (1860–1941) was a prolific and successful English artist and illustrator, active from 1886 through to the late 1920s. Sometimes known as H. J. Ford or Henry J. Ford, he came to public attention when he provided the numerous beautiful illustrations for Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, which captured the imagination of a generation of British children and were sold worldwide in the 1880s and 1890s.

In 1892, Ford began exhibiting paintings of historical subjects and landscapes at the Royal Academy of Art exhibitions. However it was his illustrations for such books as The Arabian Nights Entertainments (Longmans 1898), Kenilworth (TC & EC Jack 1900) and A School History of England by C. R. L. Fletcher and Rudyard Kipling (Clarendon Press 1911) that provided Ford with both income and fame.

After education at Repton School and Clare College, Cambridge, Ford returned to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art and later, at the Bushey School of Art, under the German-born Hubert von Herkomer. More Henry Justice Ford

Norman Prescott Davies, (British, 1862–1915)
Sjöjungfrun , 1904
Mermaid, 1904
Oil on canvas
107 x 61 cm. (42.1 x 24 in.)

Michael Rostovtzeff called her "the great mistress of the North Syrian lands". Her consort is usually Hadad. As Ataratheh, doves and fish were considered sacred to her: doves as an emblem of the Love-Goddess, and fish as symbolic of the fertility and life of the waters. More Sjöjungfrun

The Norman chapel in Durham Castle, built around 1078 by Saxon stonemasons, has what is probably the earliest surviving artistic depiction of a mermaid in England. It can be seen on a south-facing capital above one of the original Norman stone pillars.

Norman Prescott Davies was born in Islesworth, Middlesex, England in 1862.  Davies studied at the Royal College of Art, Guilds Art School, and at Heatherley's.  He then worked in London as a miniaturist, portrait and figure painter.  He began to exhibit at age 18.  He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and Royal Society of British Artists.  His work has been reproduced into calendars and posters by the thousands. More Norman Prescott Davies

The Mermaid of Zennor, wood-carved bench end
Cornwall, late fifteenth century.
Photo by Tom Oates.

The Mermaid of Zennor  is a popular Cornish folk tale that was first recorded by the Cornish folklorist William Bottrell in 1873. The legend has inspired works of poetry, literature and art.

Long ago, a beautiful and richly-dressed woman occasionally attended services at St. Senara's Church in Zennor, and sometimes at Morvah. The parishioners were enchanted by her beauty and her voice, for her singing was sweeter than all the rest. She appeared infrequently for scores of years, but never seemed to age, and nobody knew whence she came, although they watched her from the summit of Tregarthen Hill. After many years, the mysterious woman became interested in a young man named Mathey Trewella, "the best singer in the parish." One day he followed her home, and disappeared; neither was ever seen again in Zennor Church.

The villagers wondered what had become of the two, until one Sunday a ship cast anchor about a mile from Pendour Cove. Soon after, a mermaid appeared, and asked that the anchor be raised, as one of its flukes was resting on her door, and she was unable to reach her children. The sailors obliged, and quickly set sail, believing the mermaid to be an ill omen. But when the villagers heard of this, they concluded that the mermaid was the same lady who had long visited their church, and that she had enticed Mathey Trewella to come and live with her. More The Mermaid of Zennor

John Reinhard Weguelin,  (1849–1927)
The Mermaid of Zennor, c. 1900

John Reinhard Weguelin RWS (June 23, 1849 – April 28, 1927) was an English painter and illustrator, active from 1877 to after 1910. He specialized in figurative paintings with lush backgrounds, typically landscapes or garden scenes. Weguelin emulated the neo-classical style of Edward Poynter and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painting subjects inspired by classical antiquity and mythology. He depicted scenes of everyday life in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as mythological subjects, with an emphasis on pastoral scenes. Weguelin also drew on folklore for inspiration, and painted numerous images of nymphs and mermaids. 

Although his earliest work was in watercolour, all of Weguelin's important works from 1878 to 1892 were oil paintings. 

Weguelin's work was exhibited at the Royal Academy and a number of other important London galleries, and was highly regarded during his career. However, he was forgotten following the first World War, as his style of painting fell out of fashion. More John Reinhard Weguelin

Mermaids appear in British folklore as unlucky omens, both foretelling disaster and provoking it. Several variants of the ballad Sir Patrick Spens depict a mermaid speaking to the doomed ships. In some versions, she tells them they will never see land again; in others, she claims they are near shore, which they are wise enough to know means the same thing. Mermaids can also be a sign of approaching rough weather.

Elihu Vedder, 1836 - 1923
The Fisherman and the Mermaid, c. 1879
Oil on canvas 
Height: 41.91 cm (16.5 in.), Width: 72.39 cm (28.5 in.)
Hood Museum of Art - Dartmouth College  (United States - Hanover, New Hampshire)

Melusine is a figure of European folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh water in a sacred spring or river. She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down (much like a mermaid). She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails, or both. Her legends are especially connected with the northern and western areas of France, as well as the Low Countries. She is also connected with Cyprus, where the French Lusignan royal house that ruled the island from 1192 to 1489 claimed to be descended from Melusine. More

Elihu Vedder (February 26, 1836 – January 29, 1923) was an American symbolist painter, book illustrator, and poet, born in New York City. He is best known for his fifty-five illustrations for Edward FitzGerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (deluxe edition, published by Houghton Mifflin).

Vedder trained in New York City with Tompkins H. Matteson, then in Paris with François-Édouard Picot. Finally, he completed his studies in Italy - where he was strongly influenced not only by Italian Renaissance work but also by the modern Macchiaioli painters and the living Italian landscape. He first visited Italy from 1858 until 1860, becoming deeply emotionally attached to fellow painter Giovanni Costa. Their idyllic trips through the Italian countryside were cut short because Vedder's father cut off his financial allowance.

Vedder returned to the USA, penniless, during the American Civil War, and made a small living by undertaking commercial illustrations. He was involved in the bohemian 'Pfaff's' coffee house group, and painted some of his most memorable paintings notable for their visionary nature, romantic imagery and often Oriental influences.

At the end of the Civil War, he left America to live in Italy. He married Caroline Rosekrans. Elihu Vedder and his wife had four children, only two of whom survived. His daughter Anita Herriman Vedder played a vital role in handling the business of her father, who was notorious for his general aloofness towards details. Elihu's son Enoch Rosekrans Vedder was a promising architect. Elihu had a home in Rome and - after the financial success of his 1884 Rubaiyat work - on the Isle of Capri.

Vedder visited England many times, and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. He was also influenced by the work of English and Irish mystics such as William Blake and William Butler Yeats. In 1890 Vedder helped establish the In Arte Libertas group in Italy.

Tiffany commissioned him to design glassware, mosaics and statuettes for the company. He decorated the hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress, and his mural paintings can still be seen there. More

Height: 12 in. by Width: 9 in. by Depth: 1 1/2 in.
Private Collection

Height: 12 in. by Width: 9 in. by Depth: 1 in.
Private Collection

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