The Golden Stairs is a masterpiece painting by British artist Edward Burne-Jones completed between 1866-80. The painting depicts a winding stone staircase with eighteen beautiful maidens in diaphanous gowns descending. Burne-Jones was known for producing art for art’s sake without clear narrative or message, and this artwork reflects that as it has no specific subject matter.
Burne-Jones drew inspiration from the Aesthetic Movement which emphasized artistic beauty and rejected the link to a source. The models for this beautiful painting included the artist’s daughter making it even more precious to him. Despite being one of his finest works, the meaning of this painting has long provoked disputes, yet its dreamlike quality and ethereal beauty continue to be admired throughout generations.
Today, the Golden Stairs remains one of Burne-Jones most celebrated artworks, featuring luxurious forms draped in robes with striking details overlaying a rich red background. The intricate patterned clothes, captivating colors and the uniqueness that surrounds every figure make it jaw-dropping just by looking at it. It is beloved both as a work of exceptional beauty and as an exemplar of an era where gorgeousness superceded all meaning in art creation.