So I was sitting here, drinking apple juice, listening to Jeff’s tantalizing voice and masterminding a plan against failing chemistry this year, and I thought it would be interesting to make a series of posts on a topic I’m strangely interested in – fairies. Well, more specifically, I was thinking I could blog about fairies and similar supernatural beings in visual arts, since it’s a topic I don’t really know anything about. Of course, with the occasional literature/music bits xD I’ll try and post one every week (more often felt too often, rarer felt too rare), and see if I can keep it up for an entire year. Please pardon my very amateurish approach.
Today’s painting is named The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of. Its artist is John Anster Fitzgerald (1832-1906), whom we’ll probably see more of in the future, as it was his fairy pictures that made him famous. One of the most interesting features of his style is the manner in which he portrays these translucent, sylph-like creatures, like in the upward part of the painting below. The almost grotesque fiends next to the bed are something special as well.
As a fun fact, the title is a reference to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, more specifically Prospero’s beautiful soliloquy:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Fitzgerald seems to have moved away from Shakespeare’s intention (which, I think…, was to emphasize just how fleeting everything around us is, just how feeble and ‘thin’ we are) to a more literal interpretation. What he painted is supposed to be an objectification of what dreams consist of…
what, or whom, do the little ugly creatures represent, though?