Art Inspired by Literature

As summer, sun and those lounge-y park days inch closer and closer, it’s time to give life to that summer reading list. Time to butter up your inner bookworm and FLY! But if you happen to be looking for that extra push, gander at these artworks that were inspired by literature. Go on..Take a look! It’s in a Book!

Thomas Thijssen. Mademoiselle de Bovary. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.

The Public House of Art’s very own, Thomas Thijssen was inspired by Flaubert’s novel, “Madame Bovary” for our latest exhibition, ‘The Devil Inside Me’. Described as the "perfect" work of fiction, “Madame Bovary” has been re-imagined as a modern-day Athena through the artist’s sharp use of iconography. Pictured with an owl and horn - symbols for wisdom and strength - she has a recognised power and it’s clear that this “nasty woman” knows how to get what she wants.

Jeff Wall. After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue. 2000.

Canadian artist, Jeff Wall was inspired by Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, “Invisible Man”. The prologue begins within a “basement room lit by 1,369 light bulbs that are powered by illegally siphoned electricity.” The elaborate conception of Wall’s staged photograph is testament to his own artistic vision guided by the power of written words.

Rene Magritte. Domain of Arnheim. 1962.

“No such combination of scenery exists in nature as the painter of genius may produce.”

The master of dark romaniticsm, Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Domain of Arnheim” had a profound effect on the master of the surreal. Magritte interpreted the story with his own surrealistic vernacular and painted a still image that represents the ideal landscape expressed by Poe.

William Hogarth. David Garrick as Richard III. c. 1745.

David Garrick was the Meryl of his time; revered for his portrayal of Shakespeare’s “Richard III” in 1741. The hype he spurred throughout London enticed Hogarth to paint this theatrical portrait - simply because it would sell. Garrick, so hot right now. The exact scene depicts Richard woke AF from a dream, the eve of the Battle of Bosworth Field where he awaits his fate. Now, the Garrick Club in London is one of the most exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in the world, appropriately holding the largest collection of artworks and artefacts representing the history of the theatre.

Peter Blake. ‘Well, this is grand!’ said Alice. 1970.

Blake’s supplementary illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There” finally manifested in a 2006 publication of the novel for which the public could intimately  love his ruralist watercolours. Blake presents a construed and twisted visual interpretation of the tale with unadulterated British wit.

John Everett Millais. Cinderella. 1881.

Millais’ portrait of Cinderella depicts her in front of the fireplace, clutching a broomstick and a peacock feather - a symbol of the Aesthetic movement. We’re only cued into the subtle fairytale narrative by the presence of her helpers; we’re just wondering, which one is Gus Gus?






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