Saturday, January 24, 2015

Evelyn De Morgan

The Sea Maidens
oil on canvas
circa 1885-1886
125 x 64 cm
De Morgan Centre, London, United Kingdom

On the morning of her seventeenth birthday, Evelyn recorded in her diary, "Art is eternal, but life is short..." "I will make up for it now, I have not a moment to lose." She went on to persuade her parents to let her go to art school. At first they discouraged it, but in 1873 she was enrolled at the Slade School of Art.

Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919), born Evelyn Pickering, was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter. She specialized in literary subjects, done in a style owing much to the Pre-Raphaelites. The Boer War and the outbreak of the First World War led to work with an anti-war sentiment. At the end of her career she painted several allegories relating to the First World War, exhibiting them to raise money for the Red Cross.

She was born in London. Her parents were of upper middle class. She was homeschooled and started drawing lessons when she was 15. She often visited her uncle, a painter, living in a villa in Florence. Her uncle, giving a great influence to her works, suggested her the arts to study in Rome, Perugia, Assisi and Florence. This enabled her to study the great artists of the Renaissance. Eventually this influenced her to move away from the classical subjects favoured by the London Slade school and to make her own style. She was particularly fond of the works of Botticelli.