Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fanny Photography and Art

Fanny Photography and Art took these beautiful pictures of Alessandra Casiraghi that simultaneously remind me of Ophelia, the Pre-Raphaelites, and John Bauer.

The Lady of Shalott: 1500?

The Facebook page for the WAG Screen film of The Lady of Shalott has an irresistible proposal...if they can get their fan list of "likes" up above 1500, they will release the film for free internet viewing.

I keep meaning to order the DVD and other things get in the way, so I'll admit this is a selfish request, but please....

Go "Like" the page for the Lady of Shalott film on Facebook!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fanny the Stunning Stunner

First a caveat on this entry: Kirsty Walker is an amazing lady.  And she's also a dear friend.  So know that this book review is, by its nature, biased by these facts.  However, the reason why Kirsty and I met in the first place was because of her passionate enthusiasm for the Pre-Raphaelites, and her dynamite wit and writing ability.


Author and Pre-Raphaelite scholar Kirsty Walker recently released a second edition to her book, Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth.  Fanny, one of the great female influences and inspriations in artist Rossetti's life, has often been marginalized in biographies and studies of him.  Dismissed as a sassy harlot or a greedy groper, poor Fanny's story was never really properly researched until Kirsty came along and wondered what the truth was behind all the legends and stories. 

I've read both the first and second editions of this book, and while I greatly enjoyed the first edition, it's truly fascinating to see the new research and information presented in the second edition.  Also Kirsty includes a few extra visuals that add punch to the text, including the beautiful new cover.

But the real gem of this biography is Kirsty's unique authorial voice.  She has a wonderful blog in which she explores art analysis in general and the Pre-Raphaelites in particular, and she often adds her delightfully mischievous wit to her posts.  The charm behind that wit is evident in Stunner, as she takes the reader along on a journey to discover Fanny's background, her motivations, her ultimate fate.  Kirsty never sacrifices research integrity for her own personal bias toward her subject.  Even when she has to write about behavior in Fanny Cornforth that may be admittedly a poor reflection on her, she does so with honesty.  She explains possible reasons in Fanny's character and/or upbringing that might have led her to what she has done.  In the end, we see Fanny as a Stunner whose largest "fault" in the eyes of Rossetti's contemporaries, and by extension his later biographers, was that she was more real and down-to-earth than Rossetti's other enigmatic ivory tower muses. 

My favorite part of the book, and also the most heartwrenching, was Kirsty's description of Rossetti's passing.  No matter what you may think of Fanny...whether you side with the early biographers who portray her as a greedy gus, or with Kirsty who sees her as ultimately well-intentioned and a survivor, you have to admit that she was a huge part of Rossetti's life.  The way she was treated upon his passing is truly a tragedy.

I highly recommend this book, in case you can't tell, and thought it was the best thing a biographer's work can ever be: a fascinating and emotional journey through the exploration of a remarkable woman's life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Herbert Gustave Schmalz - Galilee

Today at my favorite antique store I found something quite interesting.  I was immediately captivated by this large artwork in a lovely old frame.

At the bottom of the image, it appeared this was handwritten in pencil: Royal Academy 1910, "Galilee"

And the artist's signature, Herbert Schmalz. 

I searched the artist Herbert Gustave Schmalz online, and found out that he is considered a Pre-Raphaelite, and was friends with William Holman Hunt and studied under Frank Dicksee.  But I can't find anything about this artwork.  Is it an original?  Some sort of limited edition print with the signed bottom?

I compared his signature on the antique artwork to one I found online, and it's convincingly similar.

If anyone has any leads on how to find out more about this lovely artwork and what this print or piece is, I would welcome it!