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The Awakening of Adonis 1900

John William Waterhouse began the prestigious oil painting entitled The Awakening of Adonis in 1899 with the intent of exhibiting the work at the Royal Academy the same year, but he only concluded it in 1900 and it was shown during that summer. The artist was genuinely praised by the critics for this painting. In fact, Waterhouse made other oil painting with the portraying Greek Gods interacting with humans in which critics compare to The Awakening of Adonis, like Hylas and the Nymphs (1896), Flora and the Zephyrs (1898), and Nymphs finding the Head of Orpheus (or Women with Water Jugs) which was concluded and exhibited in 1901.

The Greek God Adonis was known as the secret lover of Hippolytus Aphrodite, who was married to Apollo. The myth tells that Myrrha, mother of Apollo, had an insatiable desire for her own father, King Cinyras of Cyprus, because of a curse put upon her by Aphrodite. Myrrha then got pregnant by the incestuous relationship, after tricking her father into having intercourse with her. Aphrodite became furious with Myrrha’s mother after she stated that she wasn’t as beautiful as her daughter, and the Goddess transformed Myrrha into a thorny myrrh tree. She ended up giving birth to Adonis as a tree.

In The Awakening of Adonis, Waterhouse used a long horizontal canvas, enabling an almost panoramic view of the scene. The painting takes place in a beautiful garden with vast fields of green grass. The central figures are in the forefront – Adonis, possibly Aphrodite, three children and an angel. The right side of the composition shows the angel with two children sitting nude on the grass, while the last child is located on the far left side. They all feature curly light and dark blond hair and seem to each hold a different offering, like flowers, and a torch of fire in which the angel blows on to light.

The forefront is filled with red, light purple, pink and blue flowers, as well as a couple of white doves. Adonis is laying on the ground wearing a dark fabric over his body and stretching as he awakes from his slumber. Aphrodite is sitting over him with her lips close to his and is wrapped in a beautiful salmon-colored fabric. The background features some bushes, tall trees, and Greek columns.

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The Awakening of Adonis 1900 John William Waterhouse

Item Number: 14006073 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $938.99
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