Nymph Caves Essay

655 words - 3 pages

The painting I choose from the Yale Art Gallery was, The Cave of the Storm Nymphs by Sir Edward John Poynter done in 1903. This neo-classical painting is a scene from Homer’s, The Odyssey giving it a mythical and philosophical theme. It is the classic landscape of beautiful sirens in a cave luring sailors into the dangerous rocky shores and eventually to their death. The style and genre he paints are similar to the earlier classical period of painting, influenced by Greek and Renaissance era mythology. His painting first caught my eye because of the rich golden streaks throughout the whole canvas and the life likeness of the sirens.
Like other paintings we have looked at there is a triangular composition in the way the three sirens are positioned drawing the viewer towards those areas. The dark stormy background has an evil unforgiving presence on the boat, but ...view middle of the document...

The siren in the middle is carelessly throwing gold in the air as if it is nothing at all. Her golden red hair flows even more carelessly than she does as the wind wisps it around her head. She also seems to be looking half at the boat as to tempt them closer in their pursuit to the cave. The last siren is sprawled out lying down on her back creating the bottom point of the paintings compositional triangle. She has one arm stretched out next to a box of gold and riches holding some as they slowly slip out of her fingers, letting them just fall to the ground without a worry. Her other hand is stretched behind her head where her golden red hair and the golden lined fabric spread out together across the floor.
The atmosphere within the cave is very care free, mellow, and calm as all three women lay about freely with their golden hair dance with the wind. The walls and ground in the cave were painted very dark and get heavier as the sides go further back. The brush strokes are thick and heavier on the cave walls as well as in the ocean waves giving them a deep and wet, almost moist feeling. These strokes are different from the light fine detailed ones on the sirens and their hair. There also seems to be a large piece of what was once a boat under the arm of the siren in the middle that is reaching out tossing gold. Showing that sailors have tried to get to them before and that was their fate. All the women are trying to entice the sailors to come toward them without knowing their real intentions to wreck them. He paints the sirens extremely exact and very detailed as to what the perfect female body would look like from the Greek and Renaissance era mythology. What attracted me to this painting the most was the golden streaks he used throughout the whole painting, especially in the sirens hair. The sirens hair is very sharp and clear as you can see every strand floating about with the wind. Golden streaks throughout their hair made each strand almost move as it glimmered on the canvas.

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