Psyche Opening the Golden Box

Psyche Opening the Golden Box is one of representative mythological paintings made by British famous painter John William Waterhouse in 1903.

Psyche Opening The Golden Box
Psyche Opening The Golden Box

The painting depicts the moment a blonde woman with pink dress named Psyche sitting in the dirty rock who eyeing in serious and devout to the golden box she holds and a light flow of green gas running out from a little gap which opened by that woman. In this painting, Waterhouse used warm watercolors to create the mysterious surroundings, such as the medium brown trees, invisible green lake and the pink flowers.

The theme of this painting comes from the allegory love story of Psyche (the beauty human princess) and Cupid (the goddess of love). It describes Psyche finally went through all kinds of ordeals appointed by Venus and got a golden box from Queen Proserpine after Cupid’s leaving. When brought the golden box back to Venus for proving her sincerely love to Cupid, she couldn’t stand against curiosity to open the box that caused her possessed by the goddess of death and sleep. That part was exactly what Waterhouse showed the viewers in this painting.

Psyche Opening the Golden Box reminds me think of another Waterhouse mythological painting-Pandora (1896) which depicts a mythological woman full of curiosity opening a golden box also. There are two common points of these two paintings:

  1. Waterhouse depicted the similar countenances (curiosity, discreet) from side face and half-naked their shoulder.
  2. Using some warm watercolors to describe and create similar surroundings (green waters and brown trees).

Garden Of Love

Garden Of Love was completed between 1632 and 1635 by Peter Paul Rubens. At the age of 40, Rubens’s wife died. He was very sad and married to 16-year-old Helen Fuhrman 4 years later. And they began a happy life. Then the painter started to yearn for the joy in life and fable themes in order to give vent to his feelings for a rosy picture. Garden of Love was created in such situations. This was a paradise on earth and the garden of love. The painter still put humans, the God, myth and reality in harmony with romantic passion. Pairs of passionate men and women delivered their affection in all kinds of attitudes. Women dressed in finery plume were looking forward to enjoying the warm love. The little amoretto was shuttling among people to spread a message of love.

Garden Of Love
Garden Of Love

This painting was full of tender, warm, and cheerful mood. The nude statue on the upper-right corner was sprayed milk to the world, which was Hera watering the human love with her milk to give them the power of love. She was the embodiment of her holy matrimony and the God of love. Her milk once created the heaven galaxy. Rio-Tinto rato and Rubens painted Origin of the Milky Way.

Those women who were well-dressed and wrapped in large silk clothes with full breast were responded by his wife? On the left, was it Rubens with Helen? The large number of beautiful women seemed to not belong to this world; naked God played in the temple, the grand palace gate would screen the introduction which can only exist in the fantasy of the luxury of the state. The analogy and the real life by the magnificent clothes with warm colors, so that the white dress is particularly prominent. Complex movements and rhythm were started gradually from left to right and finally folded by men of cardinal. At the top of the man, the stone fountain was very lively, including the Venus statue like a real woman which was squeezing the breast. Lovers on the steps filled the triangle in the diagram. This was not only the spatial triangle, but also the one in the plane. And the vertical lines and curve made the shape below stable and responded with each other.

Battle of the Amazons

Battle of the Amazons depicts the war scenes caused by the love of the hero Theseus and Queen Amazon Hippolyta. Two groups of people met on the bridge, one after another. The fierce battle was very spectacular. Hero Theseus travelled to Asia grams, and saw Queen Amazon and asked her to marry him. After the marriage, the hero took her home, which caused the dissatisfaction of Amazon tribe. Then Amazon tribe sent troops to attack the Greek and had an undefeated season. At that time Theseus went to the maze of Crete to get rid of the cow monster. Until he got this news, the Amazons was about to attack Athens. Theseus immediately led the army against them. Both sides fought on the bridge head
if he was able to see, they were only the two copies or sketches. On the conception of Rubens’s painting, he was not imitating previous actions. The painter is by virtue of his skilled realistic skills to make the lines and colors echo with each other and endowed with his originality.

The Tempi Madonna

In Florence, Raphael made the largest Madonna paintings. If there was one painting with the slightest religious sentiment, it should be The Tempi Madonna. Raphael began working on it when he left Florence and went to Rome. In 1508, Raphael was recommended by his fellow Bramante, and invited by Julie II to Rome to make murals for the Vatican palace. At that time, his passion for the creation of Madonna was still unabated. After coming to Rome, he was commissioned again to work out this Madonna. The Tempi Madonna is measuring 25×17cm, and now collected in Munich Museum of Antiquities.

The Tempi Madonna
Detail Of The Tempi Madonna

Here the artist broke the traditional format which existed in his previous Madonna paintings and changed the form and composition to make Madonna hug her children in order to exquisitely show the parent-child love in the world. Madonna put her face close

to the baby’s face, full of love. When you appreciate this painting, you will produce a kind of impulsive feeling and a kind of human nature of the calf private overflowing in the painting. This is Raphael’s Madonna further secular result, which is a big change different from the past. We feel that the artist is trying to explore his own personality, making the Madonna and people’s feelings come closer. The colors of The Tempi Madonna use block surface structure where Madonna sits in the front side of the right. The intimate feelings on Madonna’s face are showed very distinctly. In addition to other paintings of Raphael, this painting may be a traitor to his other Madonna works.

The Grand Duke S Madonna

Raphael has created nearly 300 paintings in his short life which only lasts 37 years. Among them, the Madonna paintings occupy the absolute superiority, so people get accustomed to associate Raphael with the charming and soft Madonna images. From the personal characters, Raphael’s Madonna varies with the times. The Grand Duke S Madonna was made between 1504 and 1505 when the painter came to Florence. He felt a boundless respect of predecessors, especially admiration for Da Vinci.

The Grand Duke S Madonna
The Grand Duke S Madonna

This piece of Madonna painting has the historical characteristics in this period. Madonna appears to be quiet, solemn and more saintly, although she is not to be deified. The artist also focuses on the performance of human beauty of maternity. But this kind of love is made with timid psychological features of the world. To some extent, it reveals the heart of Raphael’s religious emotion. Of course, the canopy and the throne are not added in this painting, which is similar to what previous artists do. But it is depicted with less secular color, which is quite different from his other works portraying Madonna in the nature. Raphael aggravates the background of the painting, and focuses on the Madonna’s facial portrait: the combination of the downcast and tender eyes, moist skin of Madonna and the child and the unsmiling solemnity on the Madonna’s face make the whole painting filled with chants of poetry. It is painted in this way maybe in order to meet the expected Madonna’s love for the whole world and in exchange for the wishes of faithful prayers. Reportedly, at that time a duchess was worried because she had no children. Later she prayed in front of this painting. Not long ago, she really gave birth to a beautiful boy. This picture was originally owned by Grand Duke of Scany Ferdinand III. This is where its name is from.

Introduction to Guernica

Guernica was a masterpiece of Picasso with great influence and historical significance in 1930s, depicting German Air Force bombing Spanish town Guernica in 1937. Commissioned by the government of the Republic of Spain in 1937, this painting was created for the International Exposition held in Paris Spain Pavilion. This painting combined Cubism, realism and surrealism, showing signs of pain, suffering and the beast.


Over the past 70 years, this masterpiece had become one of the warnings of war culture symbols and also made Guernica tragedy forever stay in humans′ scarred memory. There was no plane, no bomb; only the brutal, horror, pain, despair, death and cry were accumulated. The trampled flowers, crushed limbs, crying mother, screaming help, man lying down and dying neighing horses…These were the silent complaint against the fascist atrocities. The painter used half abstract cubism style broke the boundaries of space, filled with angry protests and made the achievements of the heroic epic. The black and white fragments were full of endless gloom and fear, reflecting the strong compassion of the painter for the suffering of mankind.

Appreciation to the Girls of Avignon

What did this painting wished to convey? Picasso took the prostitutes that he saw in Barcelona Street when he was young as the basis. This street was known for numerous brothels. The women in this painting were the prostitutes in this street. The painter had numerous revisions. In the sketch of this painting, a sailor and a newly admitted student once appeared. Picasso boldly painted five girl and two guys. The background was the living room or dining room. Later, after
these five naked women were set off the blue background. Blue reminded him of Gosaul’s beautiful scenery. But what the audience saw was a group of geometric variation. A woman wearing a mast was sitting in the right. When she turned around, her face was very terrible, like climbing out of the world of ghosts. But the color was like roasted suckling pig. In the left side, a woman was opening the red curtain to show her sisters’ diamond body. Her serious expression and profile were like Egyptian murals. There was a pile of fruit.

The Girls of Avignon by Pablo Picasso

The Girls of Avignon was made in 1907, which was considered the first work with cubism tendency. It is now preserved in New York’s Museum of modern art.

The Girls Of Avignon
The Girls Of Avignon

The past painters used to see people or things from an angle, and their paintings were stereo side. Cubism was using a new way to show things, observe from several angles and represent several sides that were impossible to see in parallel or overlapping manner. In The Girls of Avignon, the colors of five nude were set off the blue background. But the background was also made arbitrary segmentation with no distant feeling. The character was composed of geometric figures.

Just as people expected Picasso took “blue period” and “pink period” as the starting point and made new explorations, in 1907 he painted this picture The Girls of Avignon. This was a cubism work completely breaking with previous artistic methods, so it would naturally suffer from various social satire and criticism.

Crying Woman by Pablo Picasso

Crying Woman portrayed an extremely sad woman whose mournful fate and emotions were reflected by extensive colors and brushwork. Her eyes, lip, and nose appeared to be reversed and fragmented, which had the characteristics that the ordinary people hardly understood.

Crying Woman
Crying Woman

The crying woman was named Dora Maar, who was an accomplished photographer from Yugoslavia. In 1936, when she was nearly 30 years old, she met the master 55-year-old Picasso. From then on to 1946, she was the most beloved lover of the master. Picasso regarded her as his personal Mousika, and assured that she would protect his works. However, in the end, Picasso made an evaluation to this relationship lasting for 10 years: in addition to cry, he had no memory of her. In the last 3 years of their relationship, in an annoying spring, lovingly pathetic female painter Francis Gino took the initiative to show love to Picasso and became the goodness of his paintings. Maar initially pretended not to know, and then bore patiently, and then secretly cried. Finally, the great emotional contrast made her lose self-control and she seemed unbearable. She was determined to desperately reclaim the most private emotion which could not be shared with someone.

Dora Maar was born in Markovitch, sometimes called the crying woman. She had long been considered the most whirling woman among Picasso’s so many long-term mistresses or wives. Since 1936, Dora and Picasso had lived together for nearly ten years. However, only from the biography of Picasso and art to observe Dora’s life and work was not just for her. Before their acquaintance, she was a professional photographer and active in the Surrealist circle; after breaking up with him, she spent nearly twenty years diligently pursuing to be an occupational painter. However, despite the Dora held a personal exhibition in 40s or 50s, she hesitated and did not want to attract people’s attention. The relevant details of her past seemed to be quickly forgotten. Her later years (until she died in 1997 at the age of 89) were spent in solitude. Sometimes she stayed in her studio in Paris, sometimes in the house Picasso bought for her in Beth. Until 1998-1999 years, after the auction of her house memorabilia and art works, many details of her life was able to be revealed.