Edward Burne-Jones: Portrait of Maria Zambaco

Portrait of Maria Zambaco: Edward Burne-Jones

This is an 1870 Portrait of Pre-Rathaelite model Maria Zambacoby painted by British artist Edward Burne-Jones. Edward Burne-Jones was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of painters in the 19th century, a movement that promoted a Medieval style of art as an alternative to the influence of the Renaissance.

Burne-Jones also advocated Aestheticism, or the pursuit of beautiful art for its own sake, without a moral or social purpose. In this picture Zambaco, an artist and model herself, poses in a rather melancholy humour clasping a flower. She has lifted her head to meet us from her book. The fallen arrow wrapped in a message and the young boy – perhaps a reference to Cupid – perhaps tell us of the depressive state in the aftermath of a love affair. Burne-Jones’s luscious deep greens and blues, with the beautiful illumination of the book, testify to his aestheticism.

Edward Burne-Jones: Portrait of Maria Zambaco is in the Clemens-Sels-Museum in Neuss, Germany.

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