100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Morgan Le Fay

Another powerful-bordering-on-frightening woman, by a Pre-Raphaelite painter. Frederick Sandys had a thing for sorceresses who ensnared powerful men. Morgan Le Fay was King Arthur's nemesis, and Sandys also painted Medea who loved then swore revenge on Jason, and Vivien who seduced and captured Merlin.

Morgan Le Fay (and I guess all these women) contain in them great potential for good and for evil, depending on whether or not she likes you at the time. She is in my opinion the most interesting character in the King Arthur stories, with the coolest and most mysterious powers. There are many depictions of her, some as a straightforward villain who is trying to bring down Arthur, but also many depictions of her (especially more modern ones) as a feminist hero. I enjoyed embodying this tension as I drew myself in. One thing that's unambiguous is that this lady is empowered, active and not passive. That's something I definitely liked. (Although it's almost goofy the way Sandys painted her in action, since she's so exaggerated. If I'm honest, I enjoyed that aspect of it too.)

Reference image from Wikipedia. The painting is now in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

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