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"Miranda - The Tempest", John William Waterhouse - Description of the Painting

28 April 2022
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Miranda - The Tempest - John William Waterhouse. Canvas, oil. 110.4 x 137.8 cm


Let us have a look at this magnificent, insightful, and picturesque masterpiece by artist D. W. Waterhouse, namely the painting "Miranda – The Tempest ", created Pre-Raphaelite and Romanticism style, with the subject being a literary scene.

The artist painted this canvas, being influenced by "The Tempest" play of W. Shakespeare to the depths of his soul. All of his feelings, emotions, and sensations made the basis for a unique picture. The work serves as an illustration for Shakespeare's “The Tempest”.

The picture shows a young girl, Miranda, standing on the sea coast and anxiously looking into the distance. The ocean is raging, the wind is howling, there is a strong storm. The sea boils and foam, raising sand from the bottom. The wind waves the girl's hair. She holds them with one hand, pressing the other hand to her heart, where the “groans” of people dying in a shipwreck sound. These include her uncle Antonio and the Neapolitan King Alonzo. She cannot help them, being powerless before the raging elements. She has lived with her father on a desert island for twelve years through the fault of her uncle, who attempted to seize power and the throne into his own hands. The Duke Prospero had magical powers and, with the help of spirits, caused a storm.

The artist decided to depict the tragic and dramatic plot of the death of the “Alonzo” ship. Miranda gets shocked by the sight of the shipwreck. She is standing half-turned to the audience, but the anxiety for the lives of people on a sinking ship, fear and despair can be read. Her long blue dress echoes in unison with the sea, and her underskirt, collar, cuffs and waist bag contrast in color with the red hair and wild cliffs. The autumn landscape induces sorrow, grief and inevitability. She will meet her love during the storm, and will be happy! Her chosen one will be the King's son, young and handsome Prince Fernando.

Traditionally for the master, soft and free strokes were used for the picture, together with the application of the bright and dark tones, different shades, all being expressed in the "mood" of the picture. His efforts in creating the masterpiece resulted in this brilliant painting.

The painting radiates faith and hope, enriching viewers with interesting impressions and will be an excellent match to any interior.
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