John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse RA (6 April 1849 – 10 February 1917) was an English painter known for working in the painterly version of the Academic style. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
|John William Waterhouse|
Waterhouse, circa 1886.
6 April 1849|
Rome, Papal States
|Died||10 February 1917
London, England, United Kingdom
|Works||Hylas and the Nymphs
The Lady of Shalott
|Spouse(s)||Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse|
|Parent(s)||William and Isabella Waterhouse|
Born in Rome, Italy, to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Later on in his career he came to embrace a Pre-Raphaelite-like subject matter.
Waterhouse's work is currently displayed at several major British art galleries, and the Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.
Waterhouse was born in the city of Rome to the English painters William and Isabella Waterhouse in 1849, in the same year that the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, were first causing a stir in the London art scene. The exact date of his birth is unknown, though he was baptised on 6 April, and the later scholar of Waterhouse's work, Peter Trippi, believed that he was born between 1 and 23 January. His early life in Italy has been cited as one of the reasons why many of his later paintings were set in ancient Rome or based upon scenes taken from Roman mythology.
In 1854, the Waterhouses returned to England and moved to a newly built house in South Kensington, London, which was near to the newly founded Victoria and Albert Museum. Waterhouse, or 'Nino' as he was nicknamed, coming from an artistic family, was encouraged to get involved in drawing, and often sketched artworks that he found in the British Museum and the National Gallery. In 1871 he entered the Royal Academy of Art school, initially to study sculpture, before moving on to painting.
Waterhouse's early works were not Pre-Raphaelite in nature, but were of classical themes in the spirit of Alma-Tadema and Frederic Leighton. These early works were exhibited at the Dudley Gallery, and the Society of British Artists, and in 1874 his painting Sleep and his Half-brother Death was exhibited at the Royal Academy summer exhibition. The painting was a success and Waterhouse would exhibit at the annual exhibition every year until 1916, with the exception of 1890 and 1915. He then went from strength to strength in the London art scene, with his 1876 piece After the Dance being given the prime position in that year's summer exhibition. Perhaps due to his success, his paintings typically became larger and larger in size.
In 1883 he married Esther Kenworthy, the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing who had exhibited her own flower-paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere. In 1895 Waterhouse was elected to the status of full Academician. He taught at the St. John's Wood Art School, joined the St John's Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council.
One of Waterhouse's most famous paintings is The Lady of Shalott, a study of Elaine of Astolat, who dies of grief when Lancelot will not love her. He actually painted three different versions of this character, in 1888, 1894, and 1916. Another of Waterhouse's favorite subjects was Ophelia; the most famous of his paintings of Ophelia depicts her just before her death, putting flowers in her hair as she sits on a tree branch leaning over a lake. Like The Lady of Shalott and other Waterhouse paintings, it deals with a woman dying in or near water. He also may have been inspired by paintings of Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais. He submitted his Ophelia painting of 1888 in order to receive his diploma from the Royal Academy. (He had originally wanted to submit a painting titled "A Mermaid", but it was not completed in time.) After this, the painting was lost until the 20th century, and is now displayed in the collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber. Waterhouse would paint Ophelia again in 1894 and 1909 or 1910, and planned another painting in the series, called "Ophelia in the Churchyard".
In total he produced 118 paintings.
Ulysses and the Sirens
- Trippi, Peter. J.M. Waterhouse. Page 4. Phaidon. 2002.
- Trippi, Peter. J.M. Waterhouse. Page 9. Phaidon. 2002.
- Trippi, Peter. J.M. Waterhouse. Page 14. Phaidon. 2002.
- Trippi, Peter; Prettejohn, Elizabeth; Upstone, Robert. J.M. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite Gallery Guide. The Royal Academy of Art. 2009.
- John William Waterhouse at Find a Grave
- Bénézit, E. (2006). "Waterhouse, John William". In Dictionary of Artists (Vol 14, pp 668–669). Paris: Gründ.
- Trippi, P. (2002). J. W. Waterhouse. New York, NY: Phaidon Press Limited.
- Moyle, Franny (13 June 2009), "Pre-Raphaelite art: the paintings that obsessed the Victorians [print version: Sex and death: The paintings that obsessed the Victorians]", The Daily Telegraph (Review), pp. R2–R3.
- Simpson, Eileen (17 June 2009), "Pre-Raphaelites for a new generation: Letters, 17 June: Pre-Raphaelite revival", The Daily Telegraph.
- Dorment, Richard (29 June 2009), "Waterhouse: The modern Pre-Raphaelite, at the Royal Academy – review", The Daily Telegraph.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- John William Waterhouse.net
- John William Waterhouse (The Art and Life of JW Waterhouse);
- John William Waterhouse (Comprehensive Painting Gallery)
- John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
- John William Waterhouse Style and Technique
- Waterhouse at Tate Britain
- Echo and Narcissus (1903)
- Ten Dreams Galleries
- John William Waterhouse in the "History of Art"
- Profile on Royal Academy of Arts Collections
- 25 Painting(s) by or after John William Waterhouse at the Art UK site