Friday, April 5, 2013

The Magic Circle by J.W. Waterhouse

Goodmorning to all
Today is Day 5 of Pagan cultures 4th Bloganiversary Party.
For today Magaly selected the theme
Originally I was going to re-share a painting I did of Elphaba from the musical Wicked...
Official poster of the original Broadway production
but that's not as fun as sharing with you one of my favorite artists!
I have been working on putting together a Collage Sheet of J.W. Waterhouse's lesser knows pieces and this one is one of my favorites.
The Magic Circle (c.1886)
 "In the exhibited painting, a chanting, wild-eyed sorceress traces a circle in an ambiguous, moonlit locale defined by barren cliffs... Watched by three figures before a lamp-lit cave that hints at the underworld, the witch draws a magic circle with a cold fire of blue and yellow dabs, distinct from the central fire of orange, violet and green stokes. While one raven perches on a human skull, another prepares to land; these are the antitheses of Saint Eulalia's doves."
J. W. Waterhouse Saint Eulalia 1885
"Bloated white poppies underscore the hallucinatory atmosphere inside the circle, which is anchored by the magical triangle formed by the sorceresses body and wand. In her left hand, shaped like a crescent moon, the a boline, used by Celtic Druids and witches to cut herbs as shown gathered at her waist."
Boline pendant - pagan druid witch wicca available at wildwizardcrafts
 "...Waterhouse decorated the skirt not with Celtic pattern, but with an Archaic Greek warrior encountering a serpent, perhaps Jason using Medea's potion to drug the one that protected the golden fleece. Viewers would have immediately associated Waterhouse's jet-haired sorceress with the acclaimed Medea..."
Frederick Sandy Medea
 "Sandy's is just one of several Pre-Raphaelite images that might have inspired Waterhouse, including Burne-Jones's The Magic Circle (c.1880)..."
"and Rosetti's vision of Jane Morris as Astarte Syriaca (1877), the powerful Near Eastern goddess of love and the moon, whose symbol is fire."
"Besides updating a type...The Magic Circle offers suggestive hints that Waterhouse inclined towards occultism. Through the rest of his career he returned to images of sorceresses and ceremonial magic; although it is impossible to prove, contemporaries may have avoided referring to Waterhouse because he embraced these subjects more avidly than was through proper for an Academician. Wizardry remained illegal in Britain until the 1950's..."
 All text in quotations from
Trippi, Peter. J.W. Waterhouse. Phaidon Press Inc, 2002.

So there you have it my favorite Witch Painting and all those that inspired it.

  Make sure to stop by Pagan Culture her sponsor today is Eliora of Enchanting Elegance for your Magical Life, a gorgeous "Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Names Will Never Hurt Me !" necklace.

1 comment:

Magaly Guerrero said...

What a wonderful selection, indeed. I didn't know the story about that painting, but I've always liked it. The power and determination on her posture, the fire...

Thanks for sharing!