Edward Burne Jones (1833-1898)
Victorian Fantasy and the Beguiling of Classical Antiquity
The aim of Burne-Jones in art is best given in some of his own words, written to a friend :
I mean by a picture a beautiful, romantic dream of something that never was, never will be, in a light better than any light that ever shone, in a land no one can define or remember, only desire... and the forms divinely beautiful.
No artist was ever more true to his aim. The earth, the sky, the rocks, the trees, the men and women of Burne-Jones are not those of this world ; but they are themselves a world, consistent with itself, and having therefore its own reality. Charged with the beauty and with the strangeness of dreams, it has nothing of a dream's incoherence. Yet it is a dreamer always whose nature penetrates these works, a nature out of sympathy with struggle and strenuous action. Burne-Jones's men and women are dreamers too. This aspect of his production, more than anything else, estranged him from the age into which he was born.
Burne-Jones was singularly strenuous in production. His industry was inexhaustible, and needed to be, if it was to keep pace with the constant pressure of his ideas. His designs were informed with a mind of romantic temper, apt in the discovery of beautiful subjects, and impassioned with a delight in pure and variegated colour.