I absolutely fell in love with several of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings at the Tate Britain, two of which are Saint Euralia by Waterhouse and Hope by George Fredric Watts.
In Saint Euralia the contrasts are what set it apart. The scene at first glance appears serene because of the fallen snow and disinterested people, but when the true subject matter is brought into context, it is actually about the violent death of a saint. The stark contrast between he hair and the the whiteness of the snow is intriguing. And the fact that her body does not lie straight down the center of the frame, but instead torques to the left expresses the rebellion of the Pre-Raphaelites against classical forms as well as jarring the viewer of the painting further.
Hope is one of the most simple and profound painting I’ve ever encountered. The figure is centered in a humble and vulnerable position and yet it remains valiantly firm in its conviction not to give into discouragement. The piece is set off by the deep palate of rich blues Watts uses. But the overall message is mainly portrayed in the symbolic attributes of the piece. That hope continues on blindly through all circumstances, and that she attempts to create beauty with what she has– even if it’s only the music produced from the one string left on her instrument.