Thursday, 2 August 2012

John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope and Love and The Maiden

'Love and The Maiden' (1877) by John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope; Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco

English painter John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope, born on 20 January 1829 and died on 2 August 1908, is unknown to me and belonged to the second-wave Pre-Raphaelites that also included Evelyn De Morgan. Stanhope was De Morgan's uncle and teacher. He was a friend of Edward Burne-Jones and influenced by him, although Stanhope used stronger colours in his work. He loved the Tuscan landscape and Florentine art and later in life moved to Florence due to health problems. In the painting chosen for today, 'Love and the Maiden', which is considered to be his masterpiece, he pays tribute to 14th century Florentine art. By this date he already lived in Italy permanently. He had access to famous paintings by Italian masters. This painting is based on the Annunciation and the angel Gabriel has been substituted by the winged Eros. The maiden in Stanhope's painting is very similar to the female figure in Botticelli's Venus and Mars. 'Love and The Maiden' was bought at Christie's in 1997 for the sum of 727,500 British Pounds by an Australian art collector. In 2003 he sold it at a profit to the Trustees of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (for the California Palace of the Legion of Honor which is part of the museum). As you might know, I love Pre-Raphaelite art and I am glad to get to know another painter belonging to the group.

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