100 Days of Art History Jinjins



This is my third copy of a Pre-Raphaelite-ish romanticized historical figure in a row. These dramatically painted, powerful, tragic women from literature sure have a grip on my imagination. To be honest I think I also just really enjoyed copying their tortured expressions.

This painting is almost comedically over the top. One of the exciting parts of this project was taking old timey fine art which has this aura of formality and prestige, finding the utter weirdness in it, and bringing it back down to earth for myself.

Medea is a sorceress from Greek myth. She falls in love with the hero Jason who is questing for the golden fleece, and helps him with her magic powers. They eventually get married, but 10 years later Jason tries to leave her for someone else. In revenge, Medea poisons her rival and Jason, then murders her own children. Somehow the takeaway of most stories about legendary sorceresses is that women shouldn't be trusted with power...a little screwed up if you ask me.

Frederick Sandys had a romantic relationship with Keomi Grey, the model for this painting. It's clearly admiring even as it's also a little scared of its subject. Sandys seems to have had a thing for beautiful ladies who brought men to their downfalls--he also painted Helen of Troy, Vivien (who led Merlin to his death), and Morgan le Fay.

Reference from Wikipedia. It's now in the Birmingham Museums Trust.

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