John William Waterhouse’s 1900 canvas Destiny is an eloquent and esoteric work, one of many that earned the painter the moniker of ‘the modern Pre-Raphaelite’. The nickname, derived from a group of artists extremely controversial in the middle of the nineteenth century, reflected the stylistic and thematic influence of the Pre-Raphaelites on Waterhouse’s entire career. The artist also looked to the contemporary and drew formal and technical influences from the Impressionists, yet remained rooted in his taste for Greek Mythological subjects embodied by contemplative women. His painting Destiny is no exception – this allegorical reproduction of an imagined scene is an ambiguous and ambitious work. A heroic female figure stands with a cup poised to her lips, staring beyond her, as a book lies open beside a mirror reflecting the sea. Within the world of the canvas Waterhouse enacts a dramatic and complex game of depth, limiting both the view of the room and the space beyond it.
Waterhouse may have been turning once again to Hellenistic or Roman civilization in his thematic exploration of destiny. The Greek goddess Tyche embodied the good fortune of all citizens and inspired them with the hope of security and affluence. A little later on the Roman image of Fortuna, who blindly turned a wheel by which fate and fortune were decided, also retained the bearer of destiny as a woman. Yet Waterhouse seems as influenced by the Classics as by the Symbolist movement of his day, then taking place in France. Primarily an expression in poetry and painting, Symbolism was a studied rejection of literal representation in favour of ambiguity, and emotional evocation in a push towards a more spiritual world. Also never overtly a member of the group, Waterhouse’s contemporary mythologies, such as his painting Destiny, certainly reveal an artist whose predilection for visual narratives rather than convincing reproductions could allow him to be seen as the pre-eminent British Symbolist.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Destiny 1900, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Destiny 1900 that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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