Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hylas and Your Favorite Nymph


The early stages of my love of the Pre-Raphaelites was shared during my teen years by my friend Jesse. One thing he once told me he loved to do when he has friends over and he showed them the art on his walls is to ask them which of the nymphs pictured in Waterhouse's Hylas and the Nymphs was their "favorite"...the one they felt the most drawn to.

In a recent documentary about Waterhouse, it was observed that Waterhouse painted all the nymphs with one woman's face. And indeed, fellow blogger Jim reports that upon going to the exhibition in Groningen, he heard a tour group leader "ask one boy which of these beautiful young ladies did he like the best. He took a few moments, shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘They all look the same’ "

But, as Jim also puts so wonderfully, "It reminds me of people with twins who, after a while of familiarity with them, can tell them apart easily whereas somebody whose unfamiliar will struggle."

So which nymph is your favorite and why? Click on the comments to read mine, and click on the above image to see it larger so you can better choose!

10 comments:

Grace said...

My favorite nymph has always been the one second in on the right side, with her head tilted dreamily, gazing into the distance. I've always found myself dreaming and in my own little world, and I can relate to her the most.

My husband's favorite is the innocent looking girl to the far right. He loves that you can tell if she's truly shy and innocent, or eagerly waiting for him to go under the water so that she can attack.

Hermes said...

A pedantic point : Hylas deliberately stayed with the Nymphs necause he had fallen in love with the nymphs and remained "to share their power and their love." (Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica)

It was painted using English models in an English wood. The models do look the same but allowed Waterhouse to explore sexuality (he seems to have liked this type of girl) in an acceptable setting. It probably wasn't meant to be 'realistic'.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Grace, I picked the same one you did; I love her eyes because they look so gazed and realistically intrigued. Thank heavens for art and talents like these! You fill our lives with such beauty, Grace! Merci mon amie, Anita

Skye said...

My favourite is the one on the far right. She seems somehow seperate from the rest of them. Also I would kill for her nose.

Grace said...

But Hermes, you didn't answer which one you were drawn to the most! :)

William said...

Yes, they do all have a very similar look, a look that I find personally appealing, but I am drawn most to the one at the center...the one holding his wrist and elbow...and his eyes. The others seem detached in one way or another, whereas she seems fully committed, a condition that has not always been present in my personal relationships.

LindenSidhe said...

I love that you used Jesse's famous question for a TBN post! As you well know, I have a hard time picking favorites. At one time, I probably would have identified most with the central nymph, and I still do to some degree. My eyes, however, keep getting drawn to the one on the farthest left, who seems to have just joined the party and is wondering excitedly exactly what is going on. it took me a few minutes to realize that not only was i intrigued by her, but that this particular nymph very likely represents myself.

Belle-Etoile said...

Ah, this is one of my favorites by Waterhouse. And my favorite girl? The little shy-looking one on the right. She has such delicate features, and looks younger than the rest. From the first time I saw her she reminded me of Andersen's little mermaid.

Hermes said...

Sorry Grace, they are all lovely, but the one reaching up to him.

Grace said...

What wonderful replies! I really love how everyone has their own back story as to why they prefer one nymph over the others. Thank you all for your answers...I love each one!