(Click on any picture to view fullscreen)
“Throughout his career, Waterhouse closely associated women with the beauty, simplicity and decay of flowers, while valuing both as vessels of the seeds of new growth.” J.W. Waterhouse, The Modern Pre-Raphaelite
I, personally, don’t think of women as simple or flowerlike, decaying or otherwise, but rather as active, complex, fully-human, capable of the full range of human vices and virtues, as much a human norm as a man could be. Whether Waterhouse really thought of women that way, considering the number of temptresses and murderesses he painted, is food for argument. One cannot deny the beauty of the paintings though.
“Reminiscent of the rural idylls in a similar format made by so-called Etruscan painters such as George Heming Mason and Nino Costa,” Listening to my Sweet Pipings shares “most resonance with the famous sequence of pictures of somnambulant women painted by Leighton such as Idyll, Cymon and Iphigenia, The Garden of the Hesperides and Flaming June. Leighton was long dead and in a world that was turning to modernism to express its spirit, it is as if Waterhouse werte expressing his belief in the eternal subjects of nature, myth and creation.” Amen, I say.