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The Soul of the Rose  1908 by Waterhouse - Reproduction Oil Painting
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The Soul of the Rose  1908

Like his The Lady of Shalott painted some twenty years previously, John William Waterhouse’s 1908 painting The Soul of the Rose takes its subject not from an ancient mythical tale or classical narrative but from a poem by the seminal Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. An elegant study of a woman in her garden struck a chord with contemporary audiences reeling from the fast pace of change they suffered at the dawn of the twentieth century. Waterhouse, a populist painter nearing the end of his life and career thus supplied dream-like and mythical reproductions of female-dominated tableaux. Most of Waterhouse’s creative output featured romantic rendering of literary heroines and tragic female figures, many of which were depicted as enchantresses, set to ensnare some unsuspecting male victim. Yet The Soul of the Rose is a mature meditation on serenity and nature from an artist nearing the end of his life. This romantic and sensual canvas is stripped of much of the loaded tragedy imbued on many of his female subjects and instead opts for a restrained view of the figure, not trapped or imprisoned like many others, but liberated in the demarcated space of the garden.

Tennyson’s poem 'Come into the Garden, Maud' reveals a woman and explores her contemplations on lost love. Perhaps deliberating his lifelong choice of women as objects of contemplation from a typically male viewer, Waterhouse’s The Soul of the Rose allows the female figure the opportunity to ruminate on her life and loves. An immensely successful canvas, the painting foregrounds the narrative as one embodied by the human form. The warm palettes of the background and the gentle mood of the garden all evoke a summer afternoon that pale in comparison to the lush reproduction of the female form. A deeply empathetic and humanistic painting, The Soul of the Rose is certainly the crowning triumph of Waterhouse’s later works.

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The Soul of the Rose 1908 John William Waterhouse

Item Number: 14009976 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $412.99
you SAVE 55% Compared to Local Galleries $743.38
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