Monday, February 1, 2010

Art Trigger: The Nympholeptos

 I read a fairly boring article on British and European Aesthetes, Decadents, and Symbolists at The Victorian Web but then the word "decadent", caught my eye. One thing led to another and I discovered The Nympholeptos.     ;-)  Connected to the Pre-Raphaelites but coming later in the 1800's.

 Waterhouse, Dicksee, Watson, Draper, Hacker and Nowell have been describned as 'Late Romantics', 'Olympians', or 'Late Pre-Raphaelites', but their sophisticated academic style based upon French Salon art is not satisfactorily categorised by these broad terms. It has not be en recognised that, like the Marble School or the Aesthetics, this circle of younger painters' work is correlated enough to be described as a sub-movement of academic idealism. Most of the exponents were trained at the Royal Academy and in Paris and were drawn to mythological and poetic narratives with a strong sensual or dramatic charge. Almost every member of the group lived in or around St John's Wood and was a member of the Art Workers' Guild, the St John's Wood Art Club and the Royal Academy. A suitable term would be the St John's Wood Clique, had this label not already been assigned to a preceding circle. The Greeks had a word to describe Draper and his friends, nympholeptos, meaning one who becomes delirious on being captured by nymphs.' Few members of the circle could resist the nymphs' seductive charm and, as Truth stated, 1897 was . . .an exceptional year for sea sprites, and naiads, and water nymphs of divers kinds. There were so many mermaids and sirens at Burlington House that a critic predicted that the room in which they hung was ...likely to be known as the Mermaid's Cavern. [84-85] 

Ulysses and the Sirens
Herbert James Draper

Arthur Hacker

Joseph Noel Patton
The Fairy Queen


  1. I like the middle one, in the corn.

  2. I love the Hacker! She's very statuesque.

    Re your question:
    bells of Ireland (tall green spikes)
    delphinium (tall light and dark blue spikes)
    pale yellow lilies
    green hydrangeas
    orange and lavender/pink roses
    talisman snapdragons

    Hope that helps! And good luck with the wedding plans.

  3. nympohleptos, a word i have NEVER heard before, would have caught my eye too ;0

    draper's nudes are, imo, the best here, by far and what an interesting site is the victorian web...i have to go back over there and spend the night reading... poor draper, too bad they never get to find out how much they are appreciated... imagine the work that went criticized and under-appreciated... and funny how popular was the siren! what imaginations men have ;)

    you are always turning me onto new things in art and i love are like having a tutor, a friend, an historian and a political commentator all rolled into one little ball of energy! ;)

  4. Yes, I particularly like the Hacker one too. She seems unearthly which is probably just as well considering the setting.

  5. Beautiful, provocative and educational as usual, PS!

  6. Nympholeptos is probably an art joke? I'm guessing. It's not an actual movement.

    A fun spin on the pre-raphaelites. I love that style of art but sometimes it's annoying, too. The overly idealized famale beauty and then, with these guys, all the nymphs and faeries and mermaids! :-)

  7. Oh thank you for this wonderful word!!! Here's one for you: moonglade.

    And for your comment at my blog; you'd been missed there, my dear.

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  8. Hi, Cloudy! Moonglade. I'll have to find it. I should be visiting Hawaii every day lately, in fact. ;-)


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