Monday, January 16, 2012

The Art of John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

'Love and the Maiden' by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Such a beautiful image. The angel is framed by roses and the color pink moves diagonally across the image. Pink is a color that contains cultural associations with love. It is true that colors do not always contain the same associations. At a gallery talk on color, it was mentioned that pink used to be perceived as a masculine color, rather than the more feminine association within today's culture. It was perceived as the softer version of the aggressive red that was associated with masculine traits. I still wonder if pink could ever be seen as a color that has no associations with love. For me it seems a difficult association to change but not impossible. Although I have no desire for pink to be unconnected to love. It is paintings like the one above, that cement our understanding of pink as reflection of love. Without that association, perhaps we would be unable to perceive the beautifully romantic aspects of this painting. 

The woman's face contains little emotion, love is contained within the cultural references that we have come to understand. As a culture we associate the rose with romantic love. The image talks blatantly within a cultural specific language that we easily understand. The image may not depict passion and raw emotion but it does contain a beauty that is stunning. It is a masterpiece and my eyes would never tire of the view.