John William Waterhouse St Cecilia exhibited 1895

Artwork details

St Cecilia
Date Exhibited 1895
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 1232 x 2007 mm
Lent by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation 2000
On long term loan
Not on display

Display caption

Inspired by Tennyson's poem The Palace of Art, this is one Waterhouse's most famous pictures, and it was an immediate success when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy. His depiction of St Cecilia stays close to Tennyson's brief description, but adds symbolic poppies as emblems of sleep, and also of death, as St Cecilia was a martyr. The angels play instruments in recognition of her being the patron saint of music. Waterhouse belonged to the generation following the Pre-Raphaelites and shared their love of religious and narrative subjects, however he depicted them in the more impressionistic painting technique of his own day.

August 2004

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