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Preafaelickie odcienie kobiecego piękna

Opis zdjęcia, a w nim ważne dla nas słowa kluczowe
In pre-Raphaelite paintings one can notice various shades of female beauty, as presented in the analysis featured in the book by Wioleta Wenerska. The author has chosen to describe eight artworks. Five of them were painted by representatives of the first pre-Raphaelite generation: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, a representative of the second generation, Edward Burne-Jones, whereas the remaining two paintings were created by John William Waterhouse, the continuer of the pre-Raphaelite woman worship. What the selected paintings have in common is that their heroines function also in the realms of literature. The discussed depictions are also bound together by mimicry of depiction, remarkable attentiveness to faithfully present the details with the symbolism of motifs and elements used.
The first woman oozing her beauty in the book is Lady Lilith – according to the Talmudic tradition the first wife of Adam – a daring woman and a lethal seductress, who captured the imagination of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In his painting Lady Lilith personifies a sensual, languid beauty enshrined in the realm of a boudoir.
Another woman of bedazzling beauty is La belle dame sans merci, a dangerous, mesmeric being, an incarnation of mysterious and destructive natural forces, able to enchant a man. She bewildered John William Waterhouse, who created a painterly portrait of John Keats’s heroine, how different from the others. La belle dame from Waterhouse’s painting appears as a temptress who follows destructive instincts, embodying dark, ensnaring beauty. What draws attention in her depiction is the long hair taking a knight captive, magnetic eyes and kissable lips which allure with redness.
The third femme emanating her masterful beauty in the book by Wioleta Wenerska is Circe, known from Homer’s Odyssey as well as from the painting of the before-mentioned English painter. In his painting Waterhouse has shown the daughter of Helios, the god of the Sun, as a wild, independent woman, who wants to gain control over the approaching Odysseus. Homer’s femme fatale appears here as magically beautiful, since she has been assigned attributes of a witch: a magic wand and a chalice with a magic beverage.
Also the Shakespearian Ophelia appears in the book, shown in the painting by John Everett Millais as an aquatic beauty.  In the pre-Raphaelite painting the daughter of Polonius becomes also stylized as a mortal, innocent, insane, tragic beauty decorated with flowers, which give color accents to the figure of Ophelia, fulfilling not only a symbolic but also a decorative function, with the nature becoming one of the main elements in creating the image of Laertes’ sister.
Melancholic beauty is represented by Isabella, the figure known from a literary work by John Keats and a painting by William Holman Hunt. The representative of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood creates a psychological portrait of Isabella, presenting her emotions through a pose (the girl stands next to a kneeling chair and bends towards a basil pot), a sad face expression and gestic communication.
Then Andromeda, immortalized in the work The Earthly Paradise by William Morris, in the painting by Edward Burne-Jones personifies a nude, sensual, imprisoned beauty. She emanates timidity, vulnerability and submissive softness. The portrait of Cassiopeia’s daughter is created by subtle lines, thereby enduing her exceptional subtlety and grace. The beauty of the naked Andromeda by Burne-Jones exists not only to be admired by Perseus, but also by the viewer.
What becomes of Beata Beatrix from the painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is an ecstatic sleeping beauty, suspended between Earth and sky. Beatrice embodies not only ecstatic beauty, which above all expresses itself through her spiritualized face, but also oneiric, luminous, innocent and refined beauty. Rossetti gives the woman a cultic, sacral dimension, because by referring to Christian symbolism (motif of a dove) he creates a new type of religion, religion of love.
Maria, however, as portrayed in the painting Ecce ancilla Domini by Dante Gabriel Rossetti personifies innocent womanhood not only by the white color of her robe, but also by objects (olive lamp, blue screen) and plants (lily) surrounding her. She also appears as a frightened beauty, which embodies to the fullest the expression of her face (eyes fixed somewhere far beyond) and a pose indicating withdrawal. Mary connotes also with illuminated beauty, since she has been assigned a halo. The creation of the daughter of Anna also personifies maidenly grace, as we notice tender features softly shaped with the paintbrush of Gabriel Charles Dante.
In their paintings the pre-Raphaelites create a particular type of female beauty. Their femme is not bestowed with neither common nor classic beauty, but there is something uncanny, enigmatic about her. Her beauty is so suggestive that we forget it sometimes hides a stigma of a fatal force. In the aesthetic canon of pre-Raphaelite beauty the most important feature is the long hair, which serves an important function, for it is to evoke desire and function as a fetish, as male glance peeks and fetishizes. What plays a great role in the creation of pre-Raphaelite heroines is a sensually shaped mouth and magnetically alluring eyes, sometimes prepossessing with a sad look. Because the pre-Raphaelites endue a depth to the faces, and the eyes, alike the paleness, bring out a call directed to the soul, a reference to unexplored realms. The face of a pre-Raphaelite woman is neatly coddled with a paintbrush, therefore it is not surprising it emanates subtlety. Her beauty is accentuated by flowers, which are found in her surrounding. Most often these flowers are roses (Lady Lilith, Ophelia, Isabella), which embody beauty to the fullest, although not only. Also poppy gives the women an enigmatic character and brings out their sensuality (Lady Lilith, Beata Beatrix). However, their innocence is typified by a lily (Maria). One should not forget about the humble violets which evoke connotations for instance with intoxication (Circe). The pre-Raphaelite femme wears jewellery, which undoubtedly endues her coquettishness, she adorns her hands with bracelets (Lady Lilith), rings (Isabella) and has pearls in her hair (La belle dame sans merci). Her body is usually enfolded in a long robe, emphasizing the female charms. The pre-Raphaelite woman distinguishes herself also by charming gestures – she can gracefully hold a crest (Lady Lilith) or gently touch a pot (Isabella), or have her hands folded in a way they resemble the wings of a swan (Beata Beatrix). A characteristic feature of a pre-Raphaelite woman are the hands with long, thin, subtle fingers. The pre-Raphaelite woman functions in various realms: boudoir (Lady Lilith), sylvan (La belle dame sans merci), castle (Circe), aquatic (Ophelia, Andromeda), domestic (Isabella, Maria) and urban (Beata Beatrix). When she abides in the interior, her beauty is accentuated by elaborate objects, such as: decorative furniture, a uncut candle holder (Lady Lilith), a maiolica pot, a kneeling chair (Isabella), a big mirror and a golden throne (Circe). When it becomes blended in the urban realm, her innocence, beauty can be incarnated for instance by a dove (Beata Beatrix), and when the pre-Raphaelite woman is enshrined in the realm of  nature, then the flowers add to her beauty (Ophelia, La belle dame sans merci).
In their paintings Pre-Raphaelites present various shades of female beauty: from unsettled, dangerous beauty (Lady Lilith, La belle dame sans merci), through imperious beauty (Circe), tragic beauty (Ophelia), melancholic, longing beauty (Isabella), embarrassed, vulnerable beauty (Andromeda) to spiritualized, innocent beauty (Beata Beatrix, Maria).

CD
The book „Pre-Raphaelite Shades of Female Beauty” includes a CD containing poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the leader of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The poems have been translated by Jan Kasprowicz and interpreted by actors and a directing student in a unique manner. On the disc we shall also find musical pieces corresponding with the book’s chapters; for instance La belle dame sans merci refers to the chapter about a fatal seductress, a mesmerizing beauty from the literary text by John Keats. Lilia toni czarnej (The Lily of the Deep Black Water) relates to the aquatic beauty of Ophelia, whereas Beata Beatrix, a piece referring to the poem by Maryla Wolska, can be assigned to the chapter about an ecstatic beauty.
The author of the project cordially thanks all the performers, teams, lectors, for their help in making this unique endeavor happen.


Prerafaelickie odcienie kobiecego piękna
and CD Odcienie kobiecości.. Price 35 PLN


Romantyczne fantazmaty demonicznej kobiecości

Opis zdjęcia, a w nim ważne dla nas słowa kluczoweThe main characters of the book „Romantic Fantasies of Demonic Womanhood” are water nymphs [rusałki], witches [czarownice], oddities [dziwożony], Goplanas [goplany] and phantoms [upiorzyce].

Water nymphs [rusałki] are derived from east Slavic demonology range. In texts of Polish Romantics they appear for instance in ballads personifying unforeseeable forces of nature and representing “lethal breath of nature”. Water nymphs were seducing not only men, using tricks of female coquetry (nudity, laughter) but also children and girls. These representatives of “that” world embodied outward beauty on one hand as well as inner evil on the other hand. The above mentioned demons revealed through the mechanism of actions of fatal, malicious women personifying the dark side of female sex.
Whereas, the witches [czarownice]  function in romantic works as specialists on creating “a world turned upside down”, modeling disorder, introducing devilish order into human’s life, since they had been  practicing magic rituals they were also working against human being. They were able to slay him by poisoning (a ballad by Józef Łapsiński Magic [Czary]) or by sending him an illness (a drama by Julian Korsak Twardowski). They could turn people into werewolves by applying suitable magical treatments (a tale by Lucjan Siemieński Enchanted wedding [Zaklęte wesele]. Some of them were regarded as experts in love magic, in this way they were too causing complications of human’s fate (a ballad by Adam Mickiewicz Elopment [Ucieczka], a poem by Roman Zmorski Lesław.
Furthermore, oddities [dziwożony] depict in the sphere of the mountains, that is why they appear in the texts of the romantic authors bewitched by Podhale traditional folk culture. These female demons are represented in Seweryn Goszczyński’s work Midsummer Night [Sobótka] and Maciej Bogusz Zygmunt Stęczyński’s poem The Tatras in twenty – four pictures [Tatry w dwudziestu czterech  obrazach] illustrating severe and wild nature of the mountains, where they are created according to “poetics of monstrosity” style. These demoniac creatures are shown throughout the texts as guardians of the water depths, creators of the underworld, as also kidnappers of women and children.
The water feminas stimulated imagination of Juliusz Słowacki and Ryszard Berwiński, turning out at pages of  Balladyna  and  Nymph of Gopło  [Bogunka  na Gople]. Goplanas [goplany]  show ambiguous nature of their element. On one hand they are full of charm, on the other one they symbolize danger that emanates from the water depths.
Finally, the phantoms, represented by  a woman – werewolf from a novel by Narcyza Żmichowska The Pagan  [Poganka] and an evil bloodsucking creature [“strzyga”] from a fairy - tail by Roman Zmorski, depict remarkably ominous aspect of feminine, since they choose their victims to take their lives without any scruples. Here a woman – vampire brings death on a fisherman who is in love with her, while the evil bloodsucking creature appears as a man – eating monster.
Literary phantasms of demoniac feminity prove the fear of female sex and its annoying aspects which prevailed also in the romantic period, and the presence of demoniac feminas in literary works has caused an increase of the supernatural creatures gallery illustrating the dark side of romantic imagination.

Romantyczne fantazmaty demonicznej kobiecości. Price 25 PLN