The Frog Prince

Fairy tales are far more than entertainment for children. They carried wisdom from one generation to the next. Many of the narratives reflect the growth of a person as threefold being, a unity of body, soul and spirit. Today, life is no longer shaped by this wisdom but rather by the narrative of the Iron Cage, which reduces life to a program to serve the machine. A common theme of the tales concerned a prince who is restored to his true nature by the kindness of a young girl. I believe the loss of this archetype in our culture has led to much confusion and ugliness. The Frog Prince is the first story that appears in the Brothers Grimm’s collection Kinder- und Hausmärchen, which was published in 1812.

William Robert Symonds ~ The Princess and the Frog

In the olden days, when wishing was still of some use, there lived a King. He had several beautiful daughters, but the youngest was so fair that even the sun, who sees so many wonders, could not help marveling every time he looked into her face.

Near the King’s palace lay a large, dark forest, and there, under an old linden tree, was a well. When the day was very warm, the little Princess would go off into this forest and sit at the rim of the cool well. There she would play with her golden ball, tossing it up and catching it deftly in her little hands. This was her favorite game and she never tired of it.

Now it happened one day that, as the Princess tossed her golden ball into the air, it did not fall into her uplifted hands as usual. Instead, it fell to the ground, rolled to the rim of the well and then into the water. Plank, splash! The golden ball was gone.

The well was deep and the Princess knew it. She felt sure she would never see her beautiful ball again, so she cried and cried and could not stop. “What is the matter, little Princess?” said a voice behind her. “You are crying so that even a hard stone would have pity on you.” The little girl looked around and there she saw a Frog. He was in the well and stretching his fat, ugly head out of the water. “Oh, it’s you — you old water splasher!” said the girl. I’m crying over my golden ball. It has fallen into the well.”

“Oh, as to that,” said the Frog, “I can bring your ball back to you. But what will you give me if I do?”

“Whatever you wish, dear old Frog,” said the Princess.”I’ll give you my dresses, my beads and all my jewelry, even the golden crown on my head.”

 The Frog answered, “Your dresses, your beads and all your jewelry, even the golden crown on your head, I don’t want them, But if you can find it in your heart to like me and take me for your playfellow, if you will let me sit beside you at the table, eat from your little golden plate and drink from your little golden cup, and if you are willing to let me sleep in your own little bed: if you promise me all this, little Princess, then I will gladly go down to the bot tom of the well and bring back your golden ball.”

“Oh, yes,” said the Princess, “I’ll promise anything you say if you’ll only bring back my golden ball to me.” But to herself she thought: What is the silly Frog chattering about? He can only live in the water and croak with the other frogs; he could never be a playmate to a human being.

As soon as the Frog had heard her promise, he disappeared into the well. Down, down, down, he sank; but he soon came up again, holding the golden ball in his mouth. He dropped it on the grass at the feet of the Princess, who was wild with joy when she saw her favorite plaything once more. She picked up the ball and skipped away, thinking no more about the little creature who had returned it to her. “Wait!” cried the Frog. “Take me with you, I can’t run that fast.”

 But what good did it do him to cry out his “Quark! Quark! ” after her as loud as he could? She didn’t listen to him but hurried home, where she soon forgot the poor Frog, who now had to go back into his well again.

The next evening, the Princess was eating her dinner at the royal table when: plitch, plotch, plitch, plotch, something came climbing up the stairs. When it reached the door, it knocked and cried:

Youngest daughter of the King, Open the door for me!

The Princess rose from the table and ran to see who was calling her. When she opened the door, there sat the Frog, wet and green and cold! Quickly she slammed the door and sat down at the table again, her heart beating loud and fast. The King could see well enough that she was frightened and worried , and he said, “My child, what are you afraid of? Is there a giant out there who wants to carry you away?”

“Oh, no,” said the Princess. “It’s not a giant, but a horrid old Frog!” And what does he want of you?” asked the King.

“Oh, dear Father, as I was playing under the linden tree by the well, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so hard, the Frog brought it back to me; and because he insisted so much, I promised him that he could be my playmate. But I never, never thought that he would ever leave his well. Now he is out there and wants to come in and eat from my plate and drink from my cup and sleep in my little bed. But I couldn’t bear that, Papa, he’s so wet and ugly and his eyes bulge out!”

While she was talking, the Frog knocked at the door once more and said:

Youngest daughter of the King, Open the door for me. Mind your words at the old well- spring; Open the door for me!

At that the King said, “If we make promises, Daughter, we must keep them. So you had better go and open the door.”

 The Princess still did not want to do it but she had to obey, When she opened the door, the Frog hopped in and followed her until she reached her chair. Then he sat on the floor and said, “Lift me up beside you.” She hesitate: the Frog was so cold and clammy but her father looked at her sternly and said, “You must keep your promise.”

 After the Frog was on her chair, he wanted to be put on the table. When he was there, he said, “Now shove your plate a little closer so we can eat together like real playmates.”

 The Princess shuddered, but she had to do it The Frog enjoyed the meal and ate heartily, but the poor girl could not swallow a single bite. At last the Frog said, “Now I’ve eaten enough and I feel tired. Carry me to your room so I can go to sleep.”

 The Princess began to cry It had been hard enough to touch the cold, fat Frog, and worse still to have him eat out of her plate, but to have him beside her in her little bed was more than she could bear.

“I want to go to bed,” repeated the Frog.”Take me there and tuck me in.”

 The Princess shuddered again and looked at her father, but he only said, “He helped you in your trouble. Is it fair to scorn him now?”

There was nothing for her to do but pick up the creature: she did it with both hands and carry him up into her room, where she dropped him in a corner on the floor, hoping he would be satisfied. But after she had gone to bed, she heard something she didn’t like. Ploppety, plop! Ploppety, plop! It was the Frog, hopping across the floor, and when he reached her bed he said, I’m tired and the floor is too hard. I have as much right as you to sleep in a good soft bed. Lift me up or I will tell your father.”

 At this the Princess was bitterly angry, but she picked the Frog up and put him at the foot of her bed. There he stayed all night; but when the dark was graying into daylight, the Frog jumped down from the bed, out of the door and away, she knew not where.

The next night it was the same. The Frog came back, knocked at the door and said:

Youngest daughter of the King, Open the door for me. Mind your words at the old well- spring; Open the door for me!

The only thing the Princess could do was let him in. Again he ate out of her golden plate, sipped out of her golden Cup, and again he slept at the foot of her bed. In the morning he went away as before.

The third night he came again, But this time he was not content to sleep at her feet. “I want to sleep under your pillow,” he said.”I’d like it better there.”

The girl thought she would never be able to sleep with a horrid, damp, goggle-eyed Frog under her pillow. She began to weep softly to herself and couldn’t stop until at last she cried herself to sleep.

When the night was over and the morning sunlight burst in at the window, the Frog crept out from under her pillow and hopped oil the bed. But as soon as his feet touched the floor something happened to him. In that moment he was no longer a cold, fat, goggle-eyed Frog, he had turned into a young Prince with handsome, friendly eyes!

“You see,” he said, “I wasn’t what I seemed to be! A wicked old woman bewitched me. No one but you could break the spell, little Princess, and I waited and waited at the well for you to help me.”

 The Princess was speechless with surprise, but her eyes sparkled. “And will you let me be your playmate now?” said the Prince, laughing. “Mind your words at the old well- spring!”

 At this the Princess laughed too, and they both ran out to play with the golden ball. For years they were the best of friends and the happiest of playmates, and it is not hard to guess, I”m sure, that when they were grown up they were married and lived happily ever after.

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Wanda Gag




Arnold Böcklin: A Painting Poet

Arnold Böcklin ~ Isle of the Dead

Arnold Böcklin (1827 – 1901) was an influential Swiss symbolist painter. Böcklin is best known for his painting The Isle of the Dead. For a long time, I associated him with this kind of haunting imagery. But when I began my research for this post I realized he had a much wider vision. Böcklin had a great gift for composition and poetic painting.

Arnold Böcklin ~ Isle of Life ~ 1888

Albert Schweitzer had insightful reflections on Böcklin’s work which are worth quoting:

Böcklin is a poet who has got among the painters. It is the poetic imagination that has led him to the fictions of his wonderful but, in the last resort, unreal landscapes. His visions master him to such an extent that impossibilities in composition, even errors of drawing that are at first sight disconcerting. (What? Böcklin was quite a master draftsman) He had recourse to pencil and the palette because he thought he could thus reproduce most vividly his poems of elemental forces. His paintings are in the last resort symbols of poems that were inexpressible in words. It is thus quite natural that the reaction against him comes from the French painters, who, with their objective realism, have no sympathy (That’s for sure!) with such a relation of poetry and painting, and combat an art showing tendencies of this kind from the standpoint of absolute painting, just as the partisans of absolute music make war on the music that bases itself on poetry.

Arnold Böcklin ~ Spring Evening ~ 1879

Arnold Böcklin ~ Odysseus and Calypso ~ 1883

Arnold-Böcklin ~ Daphnis et Amaryllis

Arnold Böcklin ~ Vita Somnium Breve ~ 1888

Arnold Böcklin ~ Catonhottinroof

Arnold Böcklin ~ Summer Day

Arnold Böcklin ~ Nymph and Satyr

Anselm Feuerbach

Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880) was a kind of German Ingres, struggling against the current to perpetuate the academic classical tradition. He was very successful in his lifetime, his works are housed at leading public galleries in Germany. When he died in 1880, Brahms composed Nanie, a piece for chorus and orchestra, in his memory. In the later part of the century, Feuerbach was overshadowed by the mysterious Symbolist paintings of his German peer, Böcklin. Despite what is said in art history books, I find many of Feuerbach’s painting to be as poetic as Böcklin’s.

Anselm Feuerbach ~ Nanna ~ 1861

When I did a google image search on Feuerbach, most of the images that first appeared were simple portraits, as Nanna. I find portraits like this to be rather boring because the form of the subject provides the composition of the painting. The fact that images like this first appear, makes me believe that people are out of touch with the poetry of art to appreciate Feuerbach’s genius.

Anselm Feuerbach ~ Mother with Children

I am much more impressed with Feuerbach’s painting Mother with Children, which reminds me of the poetic art of the Italian Renaissance painters Giorgione and Titian. The great Bouguereau, who was Feuerbach’s French contemporary, is known for his paintings of women and children but most of his compositions are very simple, with the figure sitting in the center of the painting. As far as composition and poetry, I find Feuerbach’s paintings to be much more interesting.

Anselm Feuerbach ~ Medea

Anselm Feuerbach Ricordo di Tivoli ~ 1866

Anselm Feuerbach ~ Am Strande ~ 1867

Anselm Feuerbach Kinder am Strande ~ 1867

Anselm Feuerbach ~ The Judgement of Paris

Reinhold Begas

Reinhold Begas (1831-1911) was a German artist known for his sculptures inspired by Greek mythology. When he was in Italy studying art, he came under the influence of Arnold Bocklin in the direction of a naturalistic style in sculpture. This tendency was marked in his sensitive sculpture The Sister. Begas is regarded as chief exponent of the neo-Baroque Berlin school of sculpture.

Reinhold Begas ~ Cupid and Psyche ~ 1854-57

Reinhold Begas ~ The Sister

Reinhold Begas ~ Pan Comforting Psyche ~ 1857-58

Reinhold Begas ~ Venus Amor

George Frederic Watts

George Frederic Watts ~ Hope ~ 1886

George Frederic Watts (1817 – 1904) was an English painter and sculptor whose work reflects a transition from Pre-Raphaelitism to Symbolism. Watts maintained a close friendship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his early work was influenced by the refined realism of the Pre-Raphaelites. Watts’ interest in the mystical and the other-worldly grew in the 1870’s which found expression in his paintings. Watts drew inspiration from the late works of the Italian master Titian (1485-1576) for his painting style of Symbolist pictures. His aim of his pictures was “poetry painted on canvas”. Watts took part in the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris with nine paintings and one sculpture and was thereby represented by an above-average number of works compared with his fellow British artists. He was propelled by this success to instant celebrity on the European art scene.

George Frederic Watts ~ Choosing

George Frederic Watts ~ She Shall be Called Woman

George Frederick Watts ~ Endymion ~ 1903

George Frederic Watts ~ Psyche ~ 1880

George Frederic Watts ~ After the Deluge: The 41st-Day ~ 1885-86

Thomas Cooper Gotch: The Child Archetype

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ Child Enthroned ~ 1894

Thomas Cooper Gotch or T.C. Gotch (1854–1931) is one of the few late Pre-Raphaelite artists whose work can be categorized as Symbolists. He first made paintings of natural, pastoral settings before immersing himself into allegorical subjects. Many of Gotch’s paintings are allegories of children, in which the idea of childhood is treated as something mystical. His daughter Phyllis was the model for The Child Enthroned, his best known work painted in 1894. The painting made a sensation at the time of its exhibition, and established Gotch’s reputation as an artist.

Contemporary critics are likely not to appreciate the symbolism in Gotch’s work due to a post-humanist reductionist view. Following the presumptions of Sigmund Freud, everything is reduced to sex. Even conservatives tend to appreciate only the technique of his work without recognizing the depth of the symbolism. C.G. Jung’s concept of the child archetype sheds much light on the content of Gotch’s paintings.

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ Alleluia ~ 1896

Jung understood archetypes as primordial images which exist in the subconscious. The archetypes are often represented in myths and fairy tales but Jung thought the symbols were not just the products of a culture but rather were part of a deep unconscious reservoir he called the collective unconscious. Jung gave an account of a father who showed him a handwritten booklet he had received as a Christmas present from his 10-year old daughter. The book contained a series of dreams of the young girl, Jung remarked, “They made up the weirdest series of dreams that I have ever seen.” The dreams were marked by religious concepts, many were allusions to destruction and restoration. One may assume that the child encountered the religious content from her environment but Jung stressed that “the girl’s family had no more than a superficial acquaintance with the Christian tradition.” Of course, Gotch had no knowledge of Jung’s discoveries but his paintings express a child’s inherent connection to the spiritual realm.

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ Pageant of Childhood

The child archetype is lesser known than the other Jungian archetypes, the anima , the shadow and the persona. The significance of the concept of the persona has much bearing today. The persona, is the social face the individual presented to the world, as Jung stated, “a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual”. Thus for Jung the result could be “the shallow, brittle, conformist kind of personality which is ‘all persona’, with its excessive concern for ‘what people think'”….. “unchildlike and artificial”. It seems that contemporary culture with its focus on career advancement tends to develop the persona more than it had been in earlier times. One’s over-identification with their own persona, which would turn an individual into a stereotype born of social expectations and ambition, Jung thought could be corrected by an association with the child archetype by “strengthening the individual’s link to their past by helping them recall childhood experiences and emotions.” The child is a bridge to the one’s true self, of what one was before they were imprisoned by the materialistic world. The expressions of the child archetype symbolized in Gotch’s work and other artists of the period are greatly needed today to counter the effects of the persona.

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ Innocence ( watercolor) ~ 1904

Gotch’s painting Innocence struck be because how different the dragon is from the dragons than are in contemporary fantasy. Modern dragons are aways black and evil, look as if they came from hell. In contrast, Gotch’s dragon is gold and blue which is rather beautiful. Apparently in the past, peace could be made with the manifestation of the shadow, the dragon. There has been a tragic alliance between the persona and the shadow, they seem to have exiled the redeeming influence of the anima and the child. The primordial ties expressed by the anima and child are rejected as unpractical and illusionary, in this vacuum, the shadow seems to define the culture.  The contemporary preoccupation with horror and darkness reflects that the culture has little hope of finding the golden age. The values symbolism in the art of Gotch’s time I believe has solutions to the cultural crisis of our time.

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ The Mother Enthroned

Thomas Cooper Gotch ~ The Flag ~ 1910



John William Waterhouse: Hylas and the Nymphs

The English painter John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917) was perhaps the only artist to have successfully reconciled the opposing forces of Classicism and Pre-Raphaelitism in late Victorian art. He followed the conventional path to success, becoming an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1885 and a full Academician in 1895. But he did not seem to care much for artistic factions, preferring to devote himself only to his work. Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists his artworks earned him admiration from all sides, and during the 1880s and ’90s his reputation rivalled even that of Leighton and Burne-Jones.

John William Waterhouse ~ Diogenes ~ 1882

Waterhouse’s early work is much different in subtext than his later work. His early paintings are historically accurate representations of ordinary life in the ancient world. His painting Diogenes is a good example. The figures in the paintings are not Venus or the Nymphs but ordinary woman. This is characteristic of a materialistic conscience that has little faith in transcendence. At this point Waterhouse’s work was like Leighton’s, paintings of superficial women with fancy fans and umbrellas appealed to the bourgeois taste. In the latter part of the 1880s Waterhouse was “converted” to Pre-Raphaelitism.

John William Waterhouse ~ Hylas and the Nymphs ~ 1896

Of all the works featured on this site, the first piece which I came to know was Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs. When I was 14, I found a reproduction of the painting in a book on fairies which I bought from a church rummage sale. In the original myth, Hylas was lured to his death by the Nymphs, but I did not read the painting that way, rather the Nymphs seem to have emerged from the depths of spiritual water. The enchanting Nymphs of the painting were from a richer time, apart from the trivialities of this world. Fortunately, I was influenced by the painting before I had contact with erotica. Rather than perceiving the image as a vehicle for an erotic fantasy, my experience of the painting gave me the inconsolable longing C.S. Lewis called Joy or what J.R.R. Tolkien called Recovery. The painting seems to have inspired the bathing Centaurette scene from Walt Disney’s classic Fantasia.

Walt Disney Studios ~ Fantasia ~ 1940

John William Waterhouse ~ Hylas and the Nymphs ~ 1896 (detail)

I recently had the reflection that praising is the very antithesis of cursing. In the past,  the admiration of the beauty of women and girls was more openly expressed. Since contemporary mass culture only regards nudity in the context of vulgarity, the experience of human beauty is tarnished and its praise is prohibited. From my experience, artists are not encouraged to paint Nymphs as Waterhouse. Since expressions of sublime joy are not nurtured, transgression has become the norm. It’s acceptable to the Neo-bourgeois to praise the beauty of stars and clouds of the sky. It’s ok to reflect the beauty of the mountains and the trees. But unlike the old bourgeois of the 19th century, they impoverished in the appreciation of the greatest subject in creation, the human form.

John William Waterhouse ~ Hamadryad ~ 1893

John William Waterhouse ~ Listen to My Sweet Pipings ~ 1911

John William Waterhouse ~ Joan of Arc

Sir Edward John Poynter: Idle Fears

Sir Edward John Poynter (1836– 1919) was an English artist who is best known for his refined scenes of antiquity. Poynter’s work is characteristic of Victorian art which appealed to the bourgeois taste for the exotic. Poynter studied painting in Paris at Charles Gleyre’s studio, where many of the young artists who were to become major Impressionists had their early training. But he was not himself drawn into the vortex of the new movements in art in France. In Britain, the Impressionists were regarded as amateurs who hardly knew how to draw. Poynter devoted himself to refined drawing and classical themes, and thus found favor with the British art-buying public. He became an R A in 1876 and was knighted in 1896.

Edward John Poynter ~ Idle Fears ~ 1894

Edward John Poynter ~ On the Temple Steps

Edward John Poynter ~ Asclepius attending to a thorn in the foot of Venus ~ 1880

Edward John Poynter ~ At Low Tide ~ 1912-14

Edward John Poynter ~ Wonders of the Deep

Edward John Poynter ~ Outward Bound ~ 1886

Burne-Jones: The Mirror of Venus

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (August 1833 – 1898) was an English artist closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. But I think it would be more accurate to call him a Raphaelite. Burne-Jones shared the Pre-Raphaelite’s distaste for materialism and the ugliness of the industrialized world and was driven by the same spirituality and idealism, but his soft style with its sfumato lighting evokes the mood of later Italian masters.

Many of Burne-Jones’ later works have no recognizable narrative which in this sense they can be called Symbolist. His archetypal figures find a counterpart in the work of the French artist Puvis de Chavannes. As president of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Puvis sought to obtain Burne-Jones’s Wheel of Fortune for their annual exhibition. “Most eminent master,” Puvis wrote, “The promise of your glorious participation in our exhibition at the Champ-de-Mars is a source of great and sincere personal joy… As for drawings, we would consider them also as an expression of the deepest, purest and highest art.”

Edward Burne-Jones ~The Mirror of Venus

Edward Burne-Jones ~The Mirror of Venus ~ 1898

Burne-Jones’s The Mirror of Venus is one of the artist’s best known works. The painting does not represent any particular myth of Venus, rather the painting is like an ambiguous poem. Burne-Jones painted two versions of The Mirror of Venus, in the better known version, Venus wears a blue gown. But the version which left a greater impression on me, shows Venus with a halo and she wears a transparent gown. The nearly nude figure is more spiritual than in the other version. These characteristics set her apart from the other women in the painting who gaze at her reflection. The painting gives me the impression of Christ and his disciples.

A passage from C.S.Lewis’ The Pilgrim’s Regress I believe has insight in interpreting The Mirror of Venus. The Pilgrim’s Regress is an allegorical book of a young man’s conversion to Christianity. The book is in a sense an autobiography of Lewis’ conversion. As a boy, John has a vision of an enchanted island. He is told later that it is the home of the landlord. John sets out on a quest to find the island and travels through lands which are symbolic of different philosophical positions. John is captured and thrown in a dungeon by the giant that represents the Spirit of the Age. When John recognizes the deception of the jailer the allegorical figure of reason appears, “a woman in the flower of her age: she was so tall that she seemed to him a Titaness, a sun-bright virgin clad in complete steel, with a sword naked in her hand.” Reason wagers that the giant answer three riddles for the price of his head. The giant muttered and mumbled when he couldn’t answer the first two riddles. Reason defeats the giant with the third riddle which sounds like an art theory question “By what rule do you tell a copy from an original?”

Reason frees John from the giant’s dungeon and travels with him for a while, John asks her about the third riddle, she answers him “You are not of an age to have thought much,” said Reason.”But you must see that if two things are alike, then it is a further question whether the first is copied from the second, or the second from the first, or both from a third?” ” What would the third be?” asked John, “Some have thought that all these loves were copies of our love for the landlord.”

C.S. Lewis was making a case that beauty and love one perceives in women is a reflection of the “landlord” which is of course God. I think it reasonable to say his way of thinking was common until the 20th century. Rather than thinking that all desire was rooted in an interest in the body, the desire for beauty reflected a good ethic nature. Unfortunately, contemporary culture has completely lost sight of this. Today, every boy is captured in the dungeon of the Spirit of the Age.

Edward Burne-Jones ~ The Perseus Series; The Doom Fulfilled ~ 1885

Edward Burne-Jones ~ The Garden of Pan ~ 1886

Edward Burne-Jones ~ Days of Creation

Edward Burne-Jones ~ Psyches Wedding ~ 1895

Millet: Spring (Daphnis and Chloë)

Jean-François Millet ~ Gleaners ~ 1857

The French artist Jean-François Millet (1814 – 1875) along with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot ( 1796 – 1875) were founders of the Barbizon movement. Instead of working only in the studio, they established a tradition of painting (plein air) outdoors. Millet is best known for sympathetic paintings of rustic peasant farmers. The public was often unenthusiastic, even hostile, to Millet’s paintings exhibited at the French Salon since the artist’s political sympathies were suspect. I find this difficult to understand because Bouguereau often painted peasants as well. Millet’s work was a great influence on Vincent van Gogh and later in the 20th century, Salvador Dali had a pathological obsession with his painting The Angelus.

Jean-François Millet ~ Spring (Daphnis and Chloë) 1865

Since Millet is known for painting peasants, it was a pleasant surprise to discover his romantic painting Spring (Daphnis and Chloë). The subject of Daphnis holding a nest of baby birds as Chloë tries to feed them reflects a great originality as well as tenderness. Apparently, Millet must have been familiar with ancient literature for him to paint this rather obscure subject. Occasionally, 19th century artists painted Daphnis and Chloë but I have not seen other works depicting this charming scene. The tale of Daphnis and Chloë is attributed to the ancient Greek poet Longus. The tale concerns two abandoned children who are raised by herdsmen and grow up to fulfill their mutual love.

Jean-François Millet ~ Spring (Daphnis and Chloë) detail

I’m rather impressed with Millet’s rendering of the figures, since his peer Corot never fair well with them. The contrasted warm and cool flesh tones of the girl make her stunning. The hatching strokes show a deep understanding of how to model a figure. It’s a great shame that Millet didn’t paint more Romantic figures.

Jean-François Millet ~ Goose Girl

Millet’s Goose Girl is the only other nude figure I know of by the artist. This painting seems to be better known but I don’t think it’s as impressive as Daphnis and Chloë. The bathing girl resembles Chloe, perhaps Millet painted the same model for both paintings.