English artist John William Waterhouse was born on April 6, 1849, in Rome. The main heroines of his paintings are strong, freedom-loving, beautiful women in the images of divine creatures. The mysterious and alluring Ophelia, Psyche, Penelope, Minerva, Cleopatra - the sorceress of his dreams and dreams! He devoted his whole life to art, investing in his work a huge supply of energy, colossal capacity for work, willpower and patience.
John grew up in a family of artists. His parents were intelligent and educated people. They worked hard, devoting their time to creativity. Parents organized interesting meetings in the house, inviting their friends. From childhood, John was a witness to the bohemian life of artists and poets. This creative atmosphere had a great influence on the formation of the boy’s character, the development of his aesthetic taste and love for the world around him. He was interested in many sciences, loved to read, draw, walk in nature, admiring its magnificent beauty. He liked fairy tales, myths, legends, into which he was immersed as a whole, each time discovering for himself a new and unknown. In myths, the future artist found amazing images and presented them drawn on paper. The picture "came to life" in his imagination!
A few years after the birth of John, the family moved to London. They settled near the Queen Victoria Museum and Prince Albert. A delightful residence beckoned with the beauty of urban buildings and the harmony of nature. John Waterhouse lived here until the end of his life. The boy worked a lot in his father’s workshop, he made sketches and sketches from galleries and museum exhibits. He was fascinated by art! Father gladly gave his son painting lessons. Young John was determined to become an artist.
At the age of 21, the young man was enrolled in the Royal Academy of Arts. Admission to this educational institution was a huge joy for him! Studying sculpture was a great pleasure. Painting captivated him with the magic of colors! He studied perfectly and successfully, shining with knowledge and talent. His interest and love for art was a spiritual stimulus to the inner world. The best works of the young artist received well-deserved recognition and were highly appreciated by teachers. The school and the Dudley Museum held presentations of his paintings.
John Waterhouse sought to develop his own individual creative style. He was a Pre-Raphaelite artist. His spiritual relationship with the Italian masters of painting created a special mood. Waterhouse painted paintings in which he depicted graceful, long-haired goddesses from mythological subjects. Women served him with rich imagination and inspiration. He painted them among unusual places: wild vegetation, overgrown ponds, dense forests and fabulous gardens. In his early works, he shone notes of nostalgia for an unforgettable Italy - ancient ruins, crowded markets, quiet courtyards and streets. He often painted maidens against the backdrop of Italian landscapes, inventing wonderful, antique outfits for them.
The first artwork served as an imitation of the master of the brush Alma Tademe, who liked to portray women in light and thin cloaks lying on soft, animal skins showered with rose petals. These masterpieces were dedicated to the ancient Greek poetess Sappho and were filled with strong erotic experiences. His other teacher and like-minded artist was Frederick Leighton. He created canvases on the themes of British history, chivalry and beautiful ladies.
John Waterhouse possessed his unique prowess using the touches of academism and impressionism. He paid great attention to broad, jerky strokes to convey life on the move. The artist used bright colors and tones with intermediate shades, clear contours of images, chiaroscuro, contrasts of red and black. He combined these artistic techniques with elements of magnificent erotica, eclecticism, intriguing games and fun, as well as Gothic, historicism and architecture. Waterhouse loved virtuosity, lightness, grace grace. All this artist brilliantly depicted against the backdrop of salon landscapes and biblical subjects. He preferred to paint flowers and nature from nature.
The most famous work of John Waterhouse, “Lady of the Shallot,” based on Celtic legends. His other famous canvases are Ophelia and Saint Cecilia. The artist led a calm, secular life, communicating with fellow artists. He was not involved in public scandals. The artist idolized women, politely talked with models, never flirted with them, deeply appreciated and respected. He has written many works of authorship and sketches. Waterhouse often painted from nature a red-haired beauty - Muriel Foster. The admiration for her knew no bounds, but this hobby was purely artistic and aesthetic.
In 1883, John Waterhouse married the bright and extraordinary artist Esther Kenworthy. Their two children died in infancy, but the tragic loss strengthened this union even more strongly, in which the couple were soul mates and like-minded people. John often painted portraits of his wife and made everyday sketches with her. She was his muse. Drawing his sister Mary, the artist embodied the image of Lady Shallot in the canvas.
In 1885, Waterhouse was recognized as a member of the Royal Academy, and in 1895 became its academician. Throughout his life he held exhibitions of his works and was engaged in the sale of paintings. The artist has achieved great fame in society. His success in life was brilliant! The paintings gave him public recognition and excellent financial success.
John Waterhouse suffered a serious cancer. He passed away at the age of 67 in February 1917. In 1992, his portrait image appeared on British postage stamps. The memory of the artist is still alive! His paintings are bought by collectors for a lot of money. Pictures of John Waterhouse are known throughout the world. They are stored in museums and private collections in the UK, England, Australia, the USA and Russia.