John William Waterhouse

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Circa 1886.

John William Waterhouse (1849-04-06 - 1917-02-10) was an English artist and professor. Waterhouse came from a family of artists and was enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. Waterhouse's style evolved through his life but by his 30s, he was painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style and became arguably the most famous of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.


I first became of Waterhouse's work after seeing a poster of his 1888 painting, The Lady of Shallot in a shop at the mall. I really enjoyed the print, and later, I recognized the style in additional paintings which a girlfriend explained to me was the Pre-Raphaelite style. I began to really enjoy the style, and saw various other prints at art stores and general kitsch stores in the mall. Later, when trying to form a database of my favorite art, I found the majority of Waterhouse's work available on Wikipedia and really enjoyed it. I've always had an appreciation for the romance of fantasy and mythology, and most of Waterhouse's work has such a focus. However, due to the patriarchal nature of mythology, and Waterhouse's exploitation of it, I often find myself torn between admiring his art, and seeing is as essentially pre-photographic pornography. While there is no shortage of strong men, rarely does Waterhouse paint strong women. Instead, they're often young, innocent and inexperienced, but still eager to please a man. While this certainly fits a boyhood fantasy, it doesn't offer much substance. There are a couple paintings of strong women, but they're still usually sexualized. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find them erotic.



Title Year Rank
The Magic Circle 1886 1
Windswept 1902 2
Echo and Narcissus 1903 3
Circe Invidiosa 1892 4
Lamia 1905 5
Hylas and the Nymphs 1896 6
The Lady of Shallot Looking At Lancelot 1894 7
Ophelia 1889 8
The Lady of Shallot 1888 9
Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus 1891 10
Miranda - The Tempest 1916 11
Lamia 1909 12
A Naiad, or Hylas With a Nymph 1893 13
Gather Ye Rosebuds 1909 14
Ophelia Sitting 1894 15
Sould of the Rose 1908 16
The Siren 1900 17
Ulysses and the Sirens 1891 18