Simeon Solomon - The disappearance of nearly a decade of the greatest painter in Victoria
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Simeon Solomon – The disappearance of nearly a decade of the greatest painter in Victoria


Portrait of the greatest painter of Victoria Simeon Solomon

Simeon Solomon was an English artist who was associated with the Pre-Raphael movement, he was an artist associated with paintings depicting Jewish life and homosexual desire.

He was truly a prodigy. From the age of 18, he had an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Contemporary artist with Simeon Solomon- Edward Burne-Jones called him with the meaning of admiring “the best person among all our artists”.

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A priestess of Diana offering Poppies, 1864


Pastoral Lovers, 1869

Solomon has built a great reputation with many typical paintings such as Mother of Moses and one of a select group of artists to be invited to work at The Great Bookcase for designer William Burges (the greatest Victorian architect with works out of the mold of industrialization in the century. XIX and Neoclassical style, bringing back the architecture and social values ​​of ideal medieval England back). Colin Cruise, Professor of Art History at Aberystwyth University, said, “No survey or study of British art in the late 19th century was completed without his involvement.” Solomon really is an extremely influential figure with the history of British art in particular and the world art in general. However, the question is, why is he less known today?


Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene (1864)

Actually, everything has its reason. The correct answer to the reason why such a talented artist disappeared completely on the world art “map” stemmed from a life-changing incident in 1873. At that time. , Solomon is in his thirties and is at the peak of his career. However, on the evening of February 11, he was caught having sex with another man and was arrested. Homosexuality was illegal at the time, Solomon was sentenced to 18 months in prison with light labor. The stigma of impulsive actions at that time caused Solomon’s reputation and career to collapse completely.

Because there was a lot of laws prohibiting Victorian rule in England, Solomon’s scandal could be called to mark the end of his career. His enthusiastic friends and supporters quickly turned their backs on him.

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A Bishop of the Eastern Church, 1874

Like Solomon, a homosexual being abandoned and ostracized by society – Oscar Wilde (famous Irish writer) is in the same situation. One major difference, however, was that Wilde only lived for five more years after his arrest, while Solomon struggled and struggled for more than three decades, most of which during which time he was destitute and impoverished. housing. Bored in his life, he increasingly plunged into alcohol and ended his miserable days in 1905, at the age of 64 – in the St. Workshop. Giles in Holborn.

In general, each period is different, but once being a celebrity, the people of the public must keep their image, because once there is a stain in the splendid career, there is never can regain the trust of fans, not only society at that time, but also today.

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Ruth and Boaz, 1862

But one interesting thing is that, although not praised, Solomon is still passionate about painting. After his arrest, he commissioned several large paintings for the protector. When released, no one helped, no space left to the extent that he could not afford to buy oil and cloth. However, he still chose to paint on paper or sometimes the sidewalk itself during the wandering life. And actually, Solomon was primitive, most intense and provocative when drawing on paper rather than on canvas.

In July 2018, Christies auctioned 26 Solomon paintings, including works organized by time, theme, or genre. Including Love, a painting painted in 1858 when Solomon was 18 years old; an 1874 watercolor painting named Greek Orthodox bishop blessing his congregation (Bishop blesses), a drawing of the mythical hero pencil Orpheus in 1896, an illustration created in 1862 about a chapter in the Bible story of Ruth and Boaz. And some wonderful paintings from red chalk.


A Hebrew Girl, 1874

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Night, 1873

Solomon was the son of a Jewish middle-class baker. He was not born into a family of artistic traditions, but Solomon was famous from a very young age, all because of the paintings that clearly depicted his Old Testament scenes, details from costumes, weapons to Jewish jewelry.

Over time, under Rossetti’s influence, Solomon’s paintings became less influenced by religion, but more spiritual and mystical instead. In other words, a bit of a pre-Raphael movement. He became more and more interested in describing and illustrating female personality through paintings.

Isn’t the gender of Solomon’s figures clear? All the characters in the picture look like androgynous. There are critics who commented that Solomon’s works were like real monsters, clearly showing the insides that were considered diseased at the time but what people saw was not so ostentatious. .

However, what people wonder about is, will Solomon’s style change after being caught? And the answer is yes, he has a new sense of beauty. But very strange, it is to bring sad mood to create beauty.


Night and Her Child Sleep, 1892


In the Summer Twilight

A new discovery is that his hobby has gradually shifted to close-up paintings and oil paintings. Picture The Knight of the Lord’s Passion was sold at Christie’s on 11/12 in London.

These works allow us to focus only on the subject of the painting or more, hoping to feel the message through the work. However, these are inner souls – even challenging, that we cannot predict. In this respect, Solomon is a great master, he has ways to make others curious about his paintings. In the last years of his life, the similarities between Solomon’s works and the contemptuous “heads” of the French artist Odilon Redon can be seen.

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Study of a youth

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Orpheus, 1896

Not surprisingly, a Victorian admired Solomon. Also a famous person, and among them Oscar Wilde, who mentioned above, also had a boycott of society like Solomon. In 1877, in a self-written article as a student at Oxford, he even described Solomon as a genius. He continued to buy some of Solomon’s drawings even though Solomon had been ostracized by the whole society – and was seriously affected by the abandonment of those works after his bankruptcy in 1896.

There was a brief revival of Solomon’s reputation in the years after his death. For example, more than 50 of his works were exhibited in a Jewish art exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1906. Two years later, the American writer Julia Ellsworth Ford published a research book on paintings. his paintings, Simeon Solomon: A great appreciation.


The Boy John, 1903


The Annunciation, 1884

But it was really just a light that flashed in the dark tunnel, because for nearly a century afterwards not even an artist or critic knew the name Simeon Solomon. Until the late 1980s, theater director Neil Bartlett staged the play A Vision of Love Reveal in Sleep and 2005 is Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (later transferred to the Munich Stuck Museum). More recently, six of his works were exhibited in an exhibition called Tate Britain in 2017 at Queer British Art 1861-1967.


Doubt, 1880


The Knight of the Lord’s Passion

Although disappearing for centuries, Solomon’s works are truly adding value. In 2016, Christies set an auction record for artists – sold for twice the £ 182,500 for watercolor paintings. A Prelude by Bach.

The amazing thing is, today, although Solomon is quite inferior to its reputation compared to Victorian artists, the quantity is very rare, the quality is not good. However, his paintings sold in July with the value of the first painting is 2000 pounds and then the whole ST estimate is 25-25 thousand pounds, an incredible value.


A Prelude by Bach, 1868

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