Evelyn de Morgan's Deianera captures Deianera at the moment of realizing she has murdered her own husband. She stands alone, bent over as if withdrawing into herself, her hands clutching her head in despair. De Morgan drapes Deianera in a pink gown and an ochre robe. The wind has apparently unfastened the robe and the deep ochre fabric whips behind her head. Deianera's robe and arms around her head lend the figure a slight sense of circularity, as if the figure were moving in circles and de Morgan has only captured a moment frozen in time.

De Morgan draws extensively from both the Italian Renaissance and Sir Edward Burne-Jones in Deianera. Her us of color, as in the dark ochre tones, reflects Burne-Jones as does the painting's verticality. Doubtlessly, she derives Deianera's beautifully intricate robe from both Michelangelo and Burne-Jones. The landscape, again, draws from both sources. De Morgan's trees are the highly stylized ones of the Italian Renaissance; yet the almost lunar feel of the horizon and foreground comes directly from Burne-Jones.

Questions

How invested does de Morgan seem to be in the subject of this painting? Could it simply be a study on drapery?

What would John Ruskin have to say about de Morgan's landscape?

Does de Morgan fully achieve movement in the painting?

Compare Deianera with any of Burne-Jones' works (for example The Mirror of Venus). Does he ever attempt to convey movement as de Morgan does?

Related Material


Victorian Web Homepage Visual Arts paintings by artist Evelyn de Morgan Discussion questions for de Morhan

Last modified 19 November 2006