Blogue Axel Evigiran

Blogue Axel Evigiran
La dispersion est, dit-on, l'ennemi des choses bien faites. Et quoi ? Dans ce monde de la spécialisation extrême, de l'utilitaire et du mesurable à outrance y aurait-il quelque mal à se perdre dans les labyrinthes de l'esprit dilettante ?

A la vérité, rien n’est plus savoureux que de muser parmi les sables du farniente, sans autre esprit que la propension au butinage, la légèreté sans objet prédéterminé.

Broutilles essentielles. Ratages propices aux heures languides...

27 déc. 2012

Waterhouse John William

« Viens, Ulysse fameux, gloire éternelle de la Grèce, arrêtes ton navire afin d’écouter notre voix ! Jamais aucun navire n’est passé par là sans écouter de notre bouches de doux chants. Puis on repart, charmé, lourd d’un plus lourd trésor de science. Nous savons en effet tout ce qu’en la plaine de Troie les grecs et les troyens ont soufferts par ordre des dieux. Nous savons tout ce qui advient sur la terre féconde… » 

 Homère, L’Odyssée
Chant XII 
(Traduction de Philippe Jaccotet)


Waterhouse John William - Ulysses and the sirens - 1891

« On the borderland between this and the foregoing category are a group of works to which we are now about to refer. It is evident that in his 'Ulysses and the Sirens' (Royal Academy), Mr. J. W. Waterhouse has put forth all his powers as an executant, and that it has been to him a labour of love. In a narrow rock-bound cleft of the sapphire-blue Mediterranean is depicted the ship of Odysseus, painted with strange archaic devices; the central figure is that of the Wanderer himself, bound with strong bonds to the mast, while his companions, with ears carefully guarded against the fatal sweetness of the Siren song, are busily plying their oars. Close round the vessel, and even on its very edge, have gathered the Sirens, revealing the heads and the unbound tresses of beautiful women, with the bodies of strong birds of prey. This new realisation of the Odyssean legend is a quaint and curious one, wrought out with an abundance of exquisite detail, especially in the heads of the Sirens, to whom Mr. Waterhouse has, however, too uniformly given the beautiful type of English womanhood. Yet with all this the impression asserts itself that the backbone of the subject is lacking. The temptation, the involuntary effort of Odysseus to follow the ravishing sounds is hardly suggested, while his companions remain stolid and little moved; the clashing elements of struggle, mental and physical, which constitute the drama are therefore absent. And then these strange birds with human heads are rather Harpies than Sirens, and we feel too much that if the piercing sweetness of their song should not prevail, they may too easily rend with those cruel eagle-claws of theirs the coveted victims. Infinitely more beautiful is the Homeric version, in which the sea-nymphs accursed of the gods recline on the shore of their fatal island, and thither seek to lure with their heart-searching music the unwary mariner ». 

Art Journal, June 1891
Critique du tableau Ulysses and the sirens,  adressé  par J.W. Waterhouse à l'Académie Royale et aux Galeries des Expositions de 1891 

John William Waterhouse

1849 - 1917

Waterhouse John William - Ariadne - 1898
Waterhouse John William - Boreas - 1903
Waterhouse John William - Circe invidiosa - 1892
Waterhouse John William - Cleopatra - 1888
Waterhouse John William - Dante and Beatrice
Waterhouse John William - Destiny - 1900
Waterhouse John William - Diogene - 1882
Waterhouse John William - Echo and Narcissus - 1903
Waterhouse John William - Flower sketch for enchanted garden - 1916
Waterhouse John William - Gone but not forgotten - 1873
Waterhouse John William - Hylas and the nymphs - 1896
Waterhouse John William - I am half sick of shadows said the lady of Shalott - 1915
Waterhouse John William - Magic circle - 1886
Waterhouse John William - Miranda the tempest - 1916
Waterhouse John William - Ophelia - 1889
Waterhouse John William - Orpheus
Waterhouse John William - Pandora - 1898
Waterhouse John William - Penelope and the suitors
Waterhouse John William - saint Cecilia - 1895
Waterhouse John William - Saint Eulalia - 1885
Waterhouse John William - The lady of shalott - 1894
Waterhouse John William - The mystic wood
Waterhouse John William - The naiad - 1893
Waterhouse John William - The slave - 1872
Waterhouse John William - Undine - 1872
Waterhouse John William - Woman picking flowers 
Waterhouse John William - A mermaid - 1905
Waterhouse John William - The cristal ball - 1902
Waterhouse John William - The danaides - 1906
Waterhouse John William - Thisbe - 1909

La reine :
Un malheur vient sur les talons de l’autre 
Tant ils se suivent de près. Votre sœur est noyée, Laërte.
Laërte : 
Noyée ? Où s’est-elle noyée?
La reine :
Au-dessus du ruisseau penche un saule, il reflète
dans la vitre des eaux ses feuilles d’argent
Et elle les tressait en d’étranges guirlandes
Avec l’ortie, avec le bouton d’or,
Avec la marguerite et la longue fleur pourpre
Que les hardis bergers nomment d’un nom obscène
Mais que la chaste vierge appelle doigt des morts.
Oh, voulut-elle alors aux branches qui pendaient
Grimper pour attacher sa couronne florale ?
Un des rameaux, perfide, se rompit
Et elle et ses trophées agrestes sont tombés
Dans le ruisseau en pleurs. Sa robe s’étendit
Et telle une sirène un moment la soutint,
Tandis qu’elle chantait des bribes de vieux airs,
Comme insensible à sa détresse
Ou comme un être fait pour cette vie de l’eau.
Mais que pouvait durer ce moment ? Alourdis
Par ce qu’ils avaient bu, ses vêtements
Prirent au chant mélodieux l’infortunée,
Ils l’ont donnée à sa fangeuse mort.
Laërte : 
Hélas, elle est noyée?
La reine :
Noyée, noyée.

W. Shakespeare
 Hamlet, IV, 7

Waterhouse John William - The lady of shalott - 1888

« La mort d’une belle femme est incontestablement le plus poétique sujet du monde »

Edgar Allan Poe

Waterhouse et Ophelia
Curator Peter Trippi looks at key works of Waterhouse
La tribune de l'Art, autour de Waterhouse

Waterhouse John William - The beatiful lady without pity -  1893

The Lady of Shalott (1842) 

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Part I
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
       To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
       The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
       Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
       The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
       Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
       The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
       Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy
       Lady of Shalott."

Part II
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
       To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
       The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
       Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
       Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
       Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
       The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
       And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed:
"I am half sick of shadows," said
       The Lady of Shalott.

Part III
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
       Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
       Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
       As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
       Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
       As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
       Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
       As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
       Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
       She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
       The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
       Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
       The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance—
With a glassy countenance
       Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
       The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right—
The leaves upon her falling light—
Thro' the noises of the night
       She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
       The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
       Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
       The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
       Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
       The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
       All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
       The Lady of Shalott."

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