Sunday, July 18, 2010

Song of Love

(click to enlarge)
Edward Burne-Jones
(British, 1833-1898)
Le Chant d'Amor (Song of Love), 1868-77
Oil on canvas

From Russel Ash's book Sir Edward Burne-Jones:
Here an ancient Breton song that was probably known to Georgiana [Burne-Jone's wife] provides the subject and the title for the painting: Hélas! je sais un chant d'amor/Triste ou gai, Tour á tour (Alas, I know a love song/Sad or merry, each in turn). The work depicts an organist with a figure representing Love working the bellows. The figure of Love is sightless ('love is blind'), while Burne-Jones's abiding interest in the language of flowers is manifest un the painting, where tulips (symbolizing 'ardent love') and wallflowers ('bitterness') jointly represent the contradictory emotions expressed in the song.

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