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My sweet rose (Soul of rose)

Painting, 1908, 88.3×59.1 cm

Description of the artwork «My sweet rose (Soul of rose)»

"The Soul Of The Rose" also known as "My sweet rose" — one of the most successful works Waterhouse. It completely embodied the ideal which throughout his life he glorified the artist. It's a romantic sophistication, symbolism, detachment, sensuality and feminine at the same time the restraint of emotions.

Illustration of a single line: the plot is "the Soul of the Rose"


The most famous works of Waterhouse are illustrations to a literary or historical events. "The soul of the Rose" is an exception, but this work is not a portrait or a fantasy author. This is a portrait-impression of the poem by Tennyson, "Maud", the most famous passage: "Come into the garden, Maud". The poem describes the tragic love of the young man to Maud, daughter of rich. They are not meant to be together, death and mental illness are waiting for the main characters, but Waterhouse grabs the viewer only one row and the light image:

"And the glow of the rose went into my chest,
Flooding my soul",

which in English sounds like: "And the soul of the rose went into my blood". In this line and found the famous phrase "soul of the rose"that is the "soul of the rose", taken as the title of the painting.

Color and symbolism in the painting by Waterhouse "the Soul of the Rose"


Like most of Waterhouse's paintings, in the center of the composition is the female figure. The background plays a secondary role, do not carry any meaning, but it creates a sense of isolation, captivity. A stone wall, to which clung Mod, inhaling the scent of blooming roses, is a trap for women, it is an obstacle to freedom and love. She slightly turned away from the viewer, making it clear that he fully immersed in their dreams and memories.

The whole painting is made in warm summer colours. It is rich green, ochre, brick color. Special attention is drawn to the bright red hair of the heroine who cleaned the hairstyle of the ancient goddesses. The lush texture of the hair and their fiery colors speak to the viewer about her strength of character and desire to find the beloved: it is necessary to introduce this MOP without the extra studs and pearls. Flower echoes the color of the skin of the girl, reflected bright young blush on her cheeks. The General coloring is opposed to the clothes. This is a closed robe of cold blue shade with a gold pattern, and this is another element pulling "to the ground" easy silhouette of the heroine. Thus, it is possible to see two Parallels: blooming roses — a memory of love, fresh face, flaming hair of a young woman and the prisoner, which symbolizes the stone wall and a Royal robe.

The product is soft, free strokes. Details the important details of the picture — head of a woman, her hands and the flowers themselves, which is a conceptual and compositional center of the work. Everything else loses its importance and the physical perceptibility due to the air impressionistic writing style.

"The soul of the Rose" is one of the works in the series, written in 1908 and dedicated to the favorite subject of the English romanticists — girls and flowers: "Pluck the roses as soon as possible"1908, "Pluck the roses as soon as possible"1909 and "Ophelia. Collected rosebuds". Waterhouse reveals in this seemingly banal plot is not only feminine beauty, sensuality, but also the transience of time, the desire to have time to enjoy wonderful. The painting was purchased into a private collection at Christie's in 1981.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene, Literary scene

Style of art: The Pre-Raphaelites, Romanticism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1908

Size: 88.3×59.1 cm

Artwork in selections: 98 selections