Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Simeon Solomon and The Sleepers and the One who Watcheth

'The Sleepers and the One who Watcheth' (1870) by Simeon Solomon; Birmingham
Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham

Another Pre-Raphaelite painter unknown to me. Simeon Solomon, born on 9 October 1840 and died on 14 August 1905, met Dante Gabriel Rossetti and joined the circle of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. He struck up a close friendship with Edward Burne-Jones. His early work are mainly depictions of religious subjects and slowly he began to show subtle traces of his homosexuality in some of these paintings. After he joined the Pre-Raphaelites, the expression of his sexuality in his work began to increase considerably. In the 1860s he began to focus on the female figure which reveals his awareness of aesthetic taste. In 1873 he was arrested with another man for indecent behaviour and sentenced to 18 months of hard labour. He only served two weeks of his sentence before being bailed out. His brilliant career was cut short due to the intolerance of Victorian society. It was now impossible for him to exhibit or sell his paintings. Despite the scandal and the end of his public career, he never stopped working. In the painting chosen for today, we see a couple sleeping while an angel watches over them. It is very reminiscent of Edward Burne-Jones in the way he depicts the androgynous figures. I think it´s beautiful!

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