Monday, December 29, 2008

John Simmons

Watercolour heightened with bodycolour
1823 - 1876.
John Simmons was a Bristol-based painter whose main output was portraiture, but who painted a series of beautiful and deliciously erotic watercolours of female fairies. The majority of these watercolours were painted in the 1860s and depict scenes from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. His Titania is in the collection of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and was included in the exhibition Victorian Fairy Painting at the Royal Academy in 1997-1998.

[Morning Star]

Watercolour with bodycolour
Appears to depict Eosphorus, the incarnation of Venus at dawn, wreathed in a gauze of transparent fabric, like the mists that veil the world in the morning and bearing a wand of starlight. Over the crest of a hill, rises the orb of the dawning sun casting a pale light over her flowing golden tresses.
The Greeks believed that the planet Venus that appeared in the morning was a different celestial object than the Venus that was visible in the morning. Thus they had two names for the planet, Eosphorus (meaning 'bearer of light') being the name of the Venus of morning and Hesperus being the name of the planet in the evening. Each had its own diety and it was not until the adoption of the Babylonian idea of the two planets being one, that the two goddesses began to be identified as one deity, Venus. It was then that she became identified by the Wandering Star, that appeared at dawn and again during the gloaming.

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