John William Waterhouse (Page 1)

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 John William Waterhouse was born in Rome to British parents on April 6, 1849. He lived there for the first 6 years of his life, absorbing the character of Italian culture until his family's return to England.

Waterhouse, known to his family as 'Nino', was an avid scholar of ancient history during his youth, and unlike most members of the Royal Academy his only tutorage in art was from his father. His first submission of a drawing to the R.A. was rejected, prompting him to seek admission as a sculptor. When admitted as a probationer in the Sculpture School in July of 1870 he was fortunately sponsored by a painter- F.R. Pickersgill. It was he who returned young Nino's attentions back to the art of painting.

One of his earliest paintings to be purchased by a private collector was "La Fileuse", a lovely painting done in 1874 whose qualities include a perfectly graceful approach to the styling of a woman's figure- particularly notable are her hands, and the addition of a Greco-Roman setting- a testament to Watherhouse's love of the city he was to return to over and over again throughout his lifetime. Click for larger view
His first exhibit to the Royal academy, The sensitive "Sleep and his Half-Brother Death", was a result of the recent deaths of his two younger brothers who were taken by tuberculosis. It is an unusual painting for this period, resting in a much sadder vein than most of his works. Click for larger view
1882 brought us "Diogenes", one of the works of Waterhouse closest resembling the work of the highly respected (by artists, not criticts) Alma-Tadema. Click for larger view
By this time Nino was exhitbiting regularly and was making a fairly lucrative living from his art. Around 1885 he was finally elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy. In 1888 he exhibited a painting at the Academy which was to become his most famous masterpiece- "The Lady of Shalott". Although most of the critics praised it only lightly, it was later bought by the Tate Gallery for far above the standard prices of the day. Click for larger view



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