Image of the Month: Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Proserpine

Dante Gabriel Rossetti-Proserpine (1874)

This month, I re-visited a book called, That Summer by Lauren Willig and quite a few memories of reading her story beforehand and previously studying the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood came flooding back. Then it hit me, Rossetti’s Proserpine painting (1874) is among my favorites! I quickly did an on-line search and found the picture with some information. What is extraordinary is that, before the second sleep recommended via email that I might consider featuring a painting from the Pre-Raphaelites, the very weekend I read Willig’s book. Isn’t it funny how things work out sometimes?

Victorians are known for their dramatic romantic notions, take on mortality and among other things…For instance, death was on their mind quite often to say the least. How they died and the afterlife was extremely important to them. Rightly so during that era both in England and America.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti often created his art based on his own experiences in life and love. In this painting, Proserpina is the queen of the underworld and the wife of Pluto. She was abducted by Pluto and her mother Ceres cast a famine on earth until her daughter was returned. The fruit Proserpina holds represents death. Anyone who ate it had to stay in the underworld for the rest of their life. Imagine that! As the story goes, Pluto made an agreement to release Proserpine back to her mother, once a year.

Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 along with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. A group of English painters, poets and art critics who showed extraordinary talent. They formed the Brotherhood that was inspired by a rejection of the essence of art that the Royal Academy, London was promoting at the time.The members included William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner. Am I leaving anyone out?

They are widely known for turning back to lavish detail (such as using props), vibrant color and complex compositions. What really stands out to me are the themes and characters drawn from of literature in history, folklore and Greek mythology. You will also find these artists believed a return to nature was paramount.

Many renown authors such as Dante, Spenser, Shakespeare, Keats and Scott inspired their art. To this day these artist’s paintings are still well-known. Many of you will be familiar with Edward Burne-Jones-The Beguiling of Merlin-which is on the book cover of Possession by A.S. Byatt. The story happens to have set in a dual time-line of 19th and 20th Century. “A novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.” There was also a movie made in 2002 based on this book starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam, Jennifer Anne Ehl, Game of Thrones Lena Headey and other notable actors. There is a particular scene where Jennifer Anne Ehl (Christabel Lamotte) is modeling for Lena Headey’s (Blanche Glover) painting and she is in a medieval custom. Very Pre-Raphaelite feel. I highly recommend both book and movie.

One can seriously go down a rabbit hole exploring Classic Literature and Art History. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface!

Stephanie Hopkins

The sources come from Wikipedia, Wikimedia (Image: Proserpine painting) the free encyclopedia and my own independent studies. The description of Possession by A.S. Byatt is from goodreads.

Be sure to take a look at January’s Image of the Month: By the Water’s Edge. I include half of a poem I have written.

Greetings From Layered Pages

Hello Fellow Readers and Artists,

I hope this letter finds you well and you’ve had a lovely and productive week. My hours have been filled with writing, reading, studying, new art projects and reflection. I have many exciting posts to share with you all in the coming weeks and months.

I did complete my index card art challenge a few days ago. However, I am not featuring them this week after all. Next week I will be sharing the remaining cards I created with a picture(s) of the entire collection (100 cards) as well.

If you haven’t already, please, take the time to read at my posts from earlier on this week. I want to wish you all a lovely and blessed weekend.

I leave you with a quote from Charles Dickens.

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”    

Regards,

Stephanie Hopkins

Key To The Past

A Key Canvas Edited

“The present is the key to the past” ― Charles Lyell

Yesterday afternoon I added the final touches to a canvas piece I’ve been working on this week. It really does feel good to be working with canvas again. For the last few months I’ve been working in my art journals and making embellishments. It’s time to mix it up again.

The abstract painting is on paper that I attached to the canvas with Matte Medium. I love the color paints I chose for this medium and I think the key adds an element of mystery. What door to the past does it open for you?

Have a great weekend! See you Monday. -Stephanie Hopkins

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Like Clock Work

This week I created a new mixed media piece. I could have gone with a gold and brown background but I didn’t want to over think this piece or what colors worked together and so forth. My only thought was to give it a funky steampunk look to it, if you will.

I worked with two canvases, my painted papers and scrap pattern papers for the collage. Then used white gesso, stencil, Tim Holtz Stamps, texture paste, a few acrylic colors and Black StazOn Ink. The image is from a paper by Graphic 45 that I use sparely. I believe I ordered the clock work elements on Amazon a couple years back.

Stephanie Hopkins

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Cover Crush: Hush by Dylan Farrow

Cover Crush: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

MigrationsMigrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Flatiron Books|Pub Date 04 Aug 2020 

Cover: Sometimes a little is a lot and this cover portrays that in the simplicity of the design yet holds meaning of a story. I love the hues chosen and the flight of birds. with the landscape background blended on the lady, one feels the destination the book description speaks of. 

Premise: I believe this story will appeal to a wide audience and one many might relate to. I look forward to reading this book and thank you to Netgalley for a copy. -Stephanie 

About the Book:

Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear; Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her on-board, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.

As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.

Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Migrations is both an ode to our threatened world and a breathtaking page-turner about the lengths we will go for the people we love.

The Previous week Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

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Cover Crush: Summer Island by Natalie Normann

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Summer IslandMy Thoughts:

I absolutely love everything about this cover! The colors, composition of the images, the images itself, the title. EVERYTHING! Now, I’m not a romance reader except for classic romance stories. You know, the oldies…the ones without all the descriptive-ahem-love scenes in them. Yep, I’m rated G when it comes to those books. Or has the ratings changed? Though I’m not saying this book has love scenes in it because I have no idea. Hmm…Anyhow, I regress.

The Cover: Five star rating from me!

The Premise: Hmm…the location and the premise sounds interesting. I will definitely be keeping track of what readers are saying about this book when its published. -Stephanie

Summer Island by Natalie Normann|HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter| Romance|Pub Date 24 Jun 2020

Description

He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

The welcome is a mix of distrust and strange gifts of food, especially from enigmatic Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbor, who has arrived for the season to get over a broken heart. Her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm for the quirky locals are a heady brew for city-boy Jack, who is discovering the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

The Previous week Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

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A History Glance Of The First Valentine’s

Valentines 9

In America before the mid 1800’s Valentine’s Cards were handmade including real lace, ribbons and what-not. If you do a little research, you’ll find all sorts of stunning handmade vintage cards online. Maybe you even have one passed down to you.

Then the whole mass production of card making by machines came about towards the end of the 19th century and they arrive in abundance to retail stores making Valentine’s Day- most likely- the biggest card selling day of the year.

Lets back track a little to an earlier time in history. Valentine’s Day goes way back to even the Roman times, but who knows, maybe even earlier.

Valentines 8

Did you know that British Library in London houses the oldest known to us humans, surviving Valentines? From what I learned it is a poem composed in French in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife, which he sent while imprisoned in the Tower of London. Wow, now that is some Valentine’s card! Can you imagine? Then again, it is said that Saint Valentine himself actually sent the first valentine so who really knows. The important thing to remember is that the tradition of expressing one’s special greetings and love is a really old affair.

Let’s get back to card making, shall we? This year I decided I wanted to make a few Valentine Cards with the focus of personalizing each one and blending my style with what I know each persons’ interest. What fun that was and I want to encourage people to consider making your Valentine’s to love ones and friends. They are much more appreciated and from the heart. They also carry on the traditions of the old arts and give you a sense of calmness and a moment of slowing down in this fast-paced world we live in. Happy Valentine’s Day! -Stephanie

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“No copyright on images infringement is intended” Used for blogging about history purpose only.

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

 

Cover Crush: Last Call on Decatur Street by Iris Martin Cohen

My thoughts on the cover:

I really like the use of colors in the back ground of this layout. I’m not find of the white font for the lettering but since the background is dark, I guess that had to be chosen. The cover to me speaks of mystery and city life. -Stephanie

Last Call on Decatur StreetAbout the book:

Last Call on Decatur Street

by Iris Martin Cohen

HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada)

Park Row

General Fiction (Adult), Literary Fiction

Pub Date 11 Aug 2020

Description

Set in Pre-Katrina New Orleans, LAST CALL ON DECATUR STREET is an electrifying tale of friendship and betrayal, an exploration of racism and white privilege, and one woman’s journey to find herself in the seedy, glamorous world of burlesque.

Despite vowing to never return to New Orleans when she left for college, Rosemary quickly finds herself back in her hometown—kicked out of school, at odds with her best friend, and desperate to lose herself in a bright, kaleidoscopic nightlife of dive bars and burlesque dancing.

This night, though, is different. An unlikely companion, a secret sorrow, and an unexpected visitor force Rosemary to break free. From the burlesque stage in the French Quarter, strip clubs to strangers’ beds, a secret garden in Jackson Square, and ending at a raucous masquerade party, this night becomes a journey for Rosemary to come to grips with her past, grieve for those she has lost, and maybe, finally, acknowledge that she too deserves redemption.

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Cohen captures the uncertainty and messy edges of early adulthood. A love letter to New Orleans, Last Call on Decatur Street is a story of family and home and the complicated things we inherit from the people and places we love.

Last weeks Cover Crush.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

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Friday Musings

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This week has been a tough week all around with work and personal life and I haven’t had a whole lot of time for my Presidential Reading Challenge. Which of course is bothering me but I shall rally on and pick it up back this weekend. Having said that, I have made progress in an audio book I have been listening too-The Last Mrs. Parish and an ARC by St, Martin Press called, “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen.

I’m 54% done with Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen: This is a really good story! I’ve always wondered how the Union Army would be able to recruit ex-slaves-right after the civil war- to become Buffalo Soldiers knowing what they were going to do to the Indians. Or did they really have a clear picture in the beginning? It really had always baffled me. This story goes into that a little from what I’ve read so far and now I understand what the Union Army could have told the soldiers to make them fight the Indians. I’m kind-of dreading reading about what is going to happen once they get out west-already knowing its history. I shall prevail!

I’m almost done listening to The Last Mrs. Parish and boy oh boy there is a HUGE twist in the story. Not only that but the characters are disturbing to say the least! Wow! Good story though, really good. One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while, I must say.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday!

Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins