John William Waterhouse painted the mythological artwork entitled The Siren in 1900. As an artist of the second generation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Waterhouse often depicted characters of the ancient Greek mythology, as well as Shakespearean stories. Painters from this group went against the strict rules implied by the Academies, as well as the predetermined themes and dark color palettes.
In The Siren, the artist chose to portray a deadly character that magically lured sailors into their embrace. The siren is similar to what we know as mermaids but was originally represented as birds with a large head of a woman. The image of the bird was a reference to their beautiful voice, but with time their appearance changed and became another reason to attract sailors into their trap. The sirens would often be seen playing the harp, and in Waterhouse’s painting, the figure is holding a lyre – a string instrument from the ancient Greeks. After the Siren has hypnotized the sailor and grabbed him in her embrace, she takes him to the depths of the ocean to his death.
Waterhouse used a long, vertical canvas and created a diagonal composition, placing the siren on the top right corner, and the sailor on the bottom left. The mythological character exudes beauty and grace. The model is nude, has pale skin, rosy cheeks, and long, dark, red-brown hair. She sits on a large boulder while playing the lyre, which partially covers her body and bends forward to stare the man in the eyes. Her severe and dark expression translates her evil intents. This version of the siren features a mermaid-like tail from her calves to her feet. The sailor seems to have been found after a shipwreck. He is in the water holding onto the bolder by the siren’s feet, his dark hair is messy and wet, and his clothes are ripped off his body.
The sailor’s hypnotized gaze into the Siren’s eyes shows a mixture of amazement and terror at the same time. He seems not to have any more control over his actions as he gets closer to the beautiful creature. The ocean was painted in rich tonalities of blue, green and violet, while the stones in the forefront and background are mostly brown, ochre, and green.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of The Siren 1900, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of The Siren 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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