Saturday, May 5, 2012

Strudwick, John Melhuish

Saint Cecilia
Oil on panel
size unknown
National Museums Liverpool

John Melhuish Strudwick (1849 - 1937), was an important late Victorian Pre-Raphaelite painter. He was born in London, studied at the Royal Academy Schools. Initially, he enjoyed the patronage of wealthy industrialists but his career went into decline when they withdrew their support.
Strudwick's paintings were done in a blend of Renaissance and medieval styles, with meticulous attention to detail, especially in his treatment of draperies and accessories, and leading to a very small output.
The Times obituary described him as 'a beautiful old man... (and) a charming personality, exceedingly kind to young artists'.

Cecilia lived in Rome around 230 AD. She is famous for taking a lifelong vow of chastity which she kept despite her enforced marriage. She converted her husband to Christianity and both suffered martyrdom. In medieval times, a misreading of her Acts led to her connection with church music and when the Academy of Music was established at Rome in 1584, she was adopted as its patroness. Her saint's day is celebrated on 22 November.