Study of a nude male crouching figure and a standing female nude with her arms tightly crossed for the painting 'Souls on the Banks of the River Styx'

SIR EDWARD COLEY BURNE-JONES BT ARA (1833-1898) Biography
PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848) Biography

Study of a nude male crouching figure and a standing female nude with her arms tightly crossed for the painting 'Souls on the Banks of the River Styx' (England, 1876)

Not for Sale Not for Sale
Pencil on white paper

Dimensions

14.00cm high
13.00cm wide
(5.51 inches high)
(5.12 inches wide)
59.80cm framed height
44.50cm framed width
2.50cm framed depth
(23.54 inches framed height)
(17.52 inches framed width)
(0.98 inches framed depth)
Request information about this work of art
View all images on one page

Literature

B-J., G, Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, Macmillan, London 1904, volume 2, page 18.
William Waters and Peter Nahum, Edward Burne-Jones, His Medieval Sources and Their Relevance to His Personal Journey in Edward Burne-Jones The Earthly Paradise, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, October 2009, pages 183-4, catalogue no. 145, illustrated page 185

Exhibition History

London, Peter Nahum, Burne-Jones, the Pre-Raphaelites and their Century, 1989, number 54
Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, on loan from November 1999
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie , Edward Burne-Jones - The Earthly Paradise, October 2009 - February 2010
Berne, Kunstmuseum Berne, Edward Burne-Jones - The Earthly Paradise, March 2010 - July 2010

Description / Expertise

The present drawing shows the study for the figures on the far right-hand side of the finished picture.
The second drawing shows a study for the left-hand figure and also the spectre like figure crouching down in the centre of the composition.

These drawings are studies for the painting Souls on the Banks of the River Styx. The interest in the nude and the dynamic treatment of the figure reveals Burne-Jones's increasing interest in Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance at this period.

It is possible that this interest in Michelangelo was connected to his new attitude to sensuality at the time of his affair with Marie Zambaco. Ruskin seems to have made the connection, and in September 1870 when the relationship was still at its height, he read to Burne-Jones his newly written Slade Lecture on The Relation between Michael Angelo and Tintoret an attack on Michelangelo's dark carnality'& perverted imagination which substitutes the flesh of man for the spirit. Burne-Jones was deeply hurt by the attack, and declared as I went home I wanted to drown myself in the Surrey Canal or get drunk in a tavern - it didn't seem worthwhile to strive any more if he could think it and write it.(1)
1. G.B-J., Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, (Macmillan, London 1904), volume 2, page 18.