Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Tragic Muse

While at the Huntington Library we came across a fascinating oil on canvas  by artist Joshua Reynolds. It stood out amongst the rest which were traditional oil paintings of the elite. At first we were not sure what to make of it, because it's such a dramatic painting to have on display and a few feet from The Blue Boy by Gainsborough.

But, soon we understood and we saw it for the true gem that it was. This is a painting of Reynolds tragic muse, actress Sarah Siddons. A legendary actress of her time and well known for her dramatic roles on the stage. He captured her nestled between two horrible looking creatures. The look of tragic etched on her face explains the scene well. As she is caught in the middle of pity and fear.

Yes, that does look like a vampire in the background to her left. The vampire like creature stands  for Pity and the creature on her right is Fear. In true artist fashion, Reynolds incorporated himself into the painting, as he represents the creature fear.

This oil painting showcases his muse, Sarah Siddons perfectly. Not only does it do that, but it also displays a gifted artist in Reynolds.

The Tragic Muse
Joshua Reynolds
The Huntington Library

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