The Beguiling of Merlin (1874) by Edward Burne-Jones

The Beguiling of Merlin - Edward Burne-Jones - 1870 - 1874

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Beguiling of Merlin
ArtistEdward Burne-Jones
Date1870 - 1874
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions111 x 186 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationLady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, UK

About The Beguiling of Merlin

“The Beguiling of Merlin” is an oil on canvas masterpiece created by Edward Burne-Jones between 1870 and 1874, documenting a significant piece within the Romanticism movement. The artwork’s dimensions are 111 by 186 centimeters and fall under the literary painting genre. It is housed at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, UK.

The artwork vividly portrays a scene inspired by Arthurian legend, specifically the moment where the enchantress Nimue, or Vivien, beguiles the wizard Merlin. In the depiction, Merlin is seated, entranced and ensnared by the beauty and magic of Nimue, who stands dominant and statuesque beside him. She is reading from a book of spells, which further cements her control over the wise old wizard. The forest setting is lush and intricately detailed, with varieties of foliage and flowers enveloping the figures, creating an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere. Nimue is draped in a rich, flowing blue robe that wraps around her elegantly, highlighting her figure and the supernatural aura that surrounds her. Merlin’s expression is one of resignation and defeat, his wise visage now melancholic, anticipating his entrapment. The intricate textures, the play of fabric, and the careful attention to nature and human emotion together make this a stunning example of Burne-Jones’s work and the Romantic sensibilities of his era.

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