Thursday, October 16, 2008

John Collier "The Essence of Femininity"

John Collier 1850-1934 was a famed portrait painter and figurative artist of the Pre-Raphaelite school known for its attention to detail and complex composition. He is noted for his use of light and color. A humanist, skeptic and friend of the Huxley family, (he married two of Thomas Huxley's daughters,) Collier was known in his day as a fashionable portrait painter and is mostly remembered today for his mythological works, including Lady Godiva below, Tannhäser above, and Lilith here.

Ayn Rand, famous for her depiction of strong heroines, held that hero worship is the essence of femininity. But Collier's portraits of women tend rather to make them the object of adoration. I am not presenting here a criticism of Rand's theory but upon first seeing Tannhäuser, with the knight-poet kneeling before Venus, I spontaneously uttered "the essence of femininity."


Anonymous said...

Ted, the link to "Lilith" doesn't work.

Ted Keer said...

Thanks, anonymous. I fixed the link, but it was a bit of a cheat, since it simply takes you to the previous post where Lilith had already been shown. You should read the wikipedia article, already linked to in this post. I haven't found any other very helpful websites on him browsing the web.

I am thinking of comparing Collier's Tannhäuser and Newberry's Venus in a future post.