Midsummer

Midsummer, 1887
Albert Moore (1841-1893)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 01536
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Midsummer was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1887. It is one of the largest and considered to be one of Moore’s best paintings. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum bought the painting in 1936. Moore was one of the leading artists of the Aesthetic movement creating ‘art for art’s sake’

Midsummer generates a powerful visual impact. The three female figures forming the focus of the painting are almost life size. The mood of midsummer heat is clearly expressed through the colour orange, light, fans, tranquillity and the languid pose of the central figure. Like much of his work, the devotion to strong design is evident in its symmetry and adornment. The fine detail patterning, such as on the mother-of-pearl cabinet, is reflective of Moore’s love of beauty. The influence of the Elgin marbles that Moore studied is shown in the graceful, classical poses of the models. The two standing women hold green Japanese fans – showing Moore’s awareness of “Japonisme”

Instead of a signature, Moore used the mark of an anthemion consisting of radiating petals, developed by the ancient Greeks. It is carved into the centre of the platform base of the chair and also into the centre of the large decorative section above the head of the sleeping figure.

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