The King’s Wedding

Edward Burne-Jones (1833 1898)

Gouache on vellum, heightened with gold
Height: 32 cm
Width: 26 cm
Signed on lower left: E. Burne Jones
Inventory Number
Purchased in 1977 with the support of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Museum Association of the Clemens Sels Museum Neuss

The theme of the narrative is the festivities during the wedding of a young royal couple. Separated by a flagpole from the rest of the picture, the lovers are enthroned on a platform-like structure, while in the foreground six young men and women in softly flowing blue robes dance a roundelay. In coloration and texture the artist has followed the lead of the masters of the Italian Renaissance so admired by the Pre-Raphaelites, Giotto or Fra Angelico. However on the left side an Amor figure with tautened bow can be seen, which appears antique. The sharp ly cut profile of the bride alsoseems to embody an ideal of beauty schooled in classical Greek antiquity even if the blue-gold dress is of a vaguely medieval style. Burne-Jones thus combines a pictorial mood based on the painting of the Italian Trecento with elements of classical antiquity. The painting technique also unites several different periods: the artist saw no contradiction in harking back to the craftsmanship of the early Renaissance while expe rimenting with new, industrially produced materials.


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