Edward Burne-Jones (British painter) 1833 - 1898
The first of "The Legend of Briar Rose" series (or small Briar Rose series), 3 of 3
The Sleeping Beauty (aka The Rose Bower), 1871
oil on canvas
60 x 115 cm.
Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce.
Fundacio’n Luis A. Ferre’, Inc. Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The Legend of Briar Rose is the title of a series of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones which were completed between 1885 and 1890. The four original paintings - The Briar Wood, The Council Chamber, The Garden Court and The Rose Bower - and an additional ten adjoining panels, are located at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Each major panel measures 49 by 98¼ inches but the ten joining panels vary in width.
Burne-Jones drew his inspiration for the Briar Rose Series from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, which had been retold in the eighteenth century by Charles Perrault in his Contes du Temps Passé and by Tennyson in his 1842 poem Day Dream. Burne-Jones chose to focus on a single moment from the famous story - when the brave prince, having battled through the briar wood, first comes upon the bewitched court and the princess he is to awake with a kiss.
Burne-Jones carefully composed the series so that the eye passes naturally from the prince standing on the left in the first scene to the object of his quest, the sleeping princess on the right of the final canvas.
There is no narrative progression in the cycle, for Burne-Jones' primary concern was to create a hermetic world far from the problems of the modern world and to suggest a mood of langour.
He did this through the lazy arabesques of the briars, the abandoned poses of the sleeping figures, the shallow perspective, the intense but modulated colours and the verses inscribed beneath, which were written by William Morris expressly to be read in conjunction with the paintings.
The sleeping beauty lies on her bed surrounded by her slumbering attendants. The rose is seen encircling the drapery in the background
Under The Rose Bower, the inscription reads:
"Here lies the hoarded love the key
To All the treasure that shall be
Come fated heart the gift to take
And smite the sleeping world awake."
The Sleeping Princess is one of a number of paintings inspired by The Legend of the Briar Rose, which Burne-Jones painted between c. 1871 and 1894 and reveals his love of challenging compositional arrangements stemming from the use of horizontal or vertical canvases. This work differs from his other versions of The Sleeping Princess in its restrained, verdant colour tones and the inclusion of an hour-glass emphasising the passage of time and the legend's underlying theme of the transition from girlhood to womanhood. In 1890, paintings from The Briar Rose series were shown to critical acclaim at Agnew's, his art dealers in London, marking the apotheosis of his career.
Burne-Jones created two other series of paintings on the same subject.
The second Briar Rose serie is the one that has four paintings, while the other two have
both three. They are all four at Buscot Park, Oxfordshire, UK.
The Third Briar Rose series was completed after the Buscot Park series. The three paintings have been split between three collections. The Garden Court is in Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, The Council Chamber is in the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington and The Rose Bower is in the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin.
To compare the other Rose Bower versions, watch: http://www.facebook.com/
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