Simeon Solomon in Oriental costume, a photograph by David Wilkie Wynfield
|Born||9 October 1840|
|Died||14 August 1905 (aged 64)|
|Education||Carey's Art Academy (1852); Royal Academy, London|
Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 – 14 August 1905) was an English painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelites who was noted for his depictions of Jewish lifeand same-sex desire. He achieved notoriety after he was caught engaging in sexual activity with a man.
Solomon was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was the eighth and last child born to merchant Michael (Meyer) Solomon and artist Catherine (Kate) Levy. Solomon was a younger brother to fellow painters Abraham Solomon (1824–1862) and Rebecca Solomon (1832–1886).
Orthodox Judaism is a collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism. Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as literally revealed by God on Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted ever since. Orthodox Judaism therefore advocates a strict observance of Jewish Law, or Halakha, which is to be interpreted and determined only according to traditional methods and in adherence to the continuum of received precedent through the ages. It regards the entire halakhic system as ultimately grounded in immutable revelation, essentially beyond external and historical influence. More than any theoretical issue, obeying the dietary, purity, ethical, and other laws of Halakha is the hallmark of Orthodoxy. Other key doctrines include belief in a future resurrection of the dead, divine reward and punishment for the righteous and the sinners, the Election of Israel, and an eventual restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem under the Messiah.
Michael (Meyer) Solomon was a successful Bishopsgate manufacturer, and was one of the first Jews to be admitted to the freedom of the City of London.
Abraham Solomon was an English painter.
Born and educated in London, Solomon started receiving lessons in painting from his older brother around 1850. He started attending Carey's Art Academy in 1852. His older sister first exhibited her works at the Royal Academy during the same year.
As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, Solomon was introduced through Dante Gabriel Rossetti to other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, as well as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and the painter Edward Burne-Jones in 1857. His first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1858. He continued to hold exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy between 1858 and 1872. In addition to the literary paintings favoured by the Pre-Raphaelite school, Solomon's subjects often included scenes from the Hebrew Bible and genre paintings depicting Jewish life and rituals. His association with Swinburne led to his illustrating Swinburne's Lesbia Brandon in 1865.
Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, generally known as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a British poet, illustrator, painter and translator, and a member of the Rossetti family. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was an English artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in Britain; his stained-glass include windows in St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Chelsea, St Peter and St Paul parish church in Cromer, St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria, St Michael's Church, Brighton, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, St Edmund Hall and Christ Church, two colleges of the University of Oxford. His stained glass works also feature in St. Anne's Church, Brown Edge, Staffordshire Moorlands and St.Edward the Confessor church at Cheddleton Staffordshire. Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice". In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery. These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.
In 1873 his career was cut short when he was arrested in a public urinal at Stratford Place Mews, off Oxford Street, in London and charged with attempting to commit sodomy: he was fined £100.He was arrested again in 1874 in Paris, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison.
Sodomy is generally anal or oral sex between people or sexual activity between a person and a non-human animal (bestiality), but it may also mean any non-procreative sexual activity. Originally, the term sodomy, which is derived from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Book of Genesis, was commonly restricted to anal sex. Sodomy laws in many countries criminalized the behavior. In the Western world, many of these laws have been overturned or are not routinely enforced.
After his prosecutions he no longer exhibited, but achieved a degree of celebrity amongst those who shared his sensibilities: Oscar Wilde, John Addington Symonds, Count Eric Stenbock, and Walter Pater all collected his works.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for homosexuality, imprisonment, and early death at age 46.
John Addington Symonds was an English poet and literary critic. A cultural historian, he was known for his work on the Renaissance, as well as numerous biographies of writers and artists. Although he married and had a family, he was an early advocate of male love (homosexuality), which he believed could include pederastic as well as egalitarian relationships, referring to it as l'amour de l'impossible. He also wrote much poetry inspired by his homosexual affairs.
Count Eric StanislausStenbock was a Baltic Swedish poet and writer of macabre fantastic fiction.
In 1884 he was admitted to the workhouse where he continued to produce work, but his life and talent were blighted by alcoholism. Twenty years later in 1905, he died from complications brought on by his alcoholism. He was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Willesden.
Examples of his work are on permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Wightwick Manor and at Leighton House. Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2005–6, and in London at the Ben Uri Gallery in 2006.
In Oscar Wilde's long prison letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis , Wilde writes of his bankruptcy: “That all my charming things were to be sold: my Burne-Jones drawings: my Whistler drawings: my Monticelli: my Simeon Solomons: my china: my Library…”
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Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, was an English painter and illustrator who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was a child prodigy who, aged eleven, became the youngest student to enter the Royal Academy Schools. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded at his family home in London, at 83 Gower Street. Millais became the most famous exponent of the style, his painting Christ in the House of His Parents (1850) generating considerable controversy, and painting perhaps the embodiment of the school, Ophelia, in 1850-51.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three founders were joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form the seven-member "brotherhood". Their principles were shared by other artists, including Ford Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes and Marie Spartali Stillman.
William Holman Hunt was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid color, and elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He was always keen to maximize the popular appeal and public visibility of his works.
Aestheticism is an intellectual and art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts. This meant that art from this particular movement focused more on being beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning — "art for art's sake". It was particularly prominent in Europe during the 19th century, supported by notable figures such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, but contemporary critics are also associated with the movement, such as Harold Bloom, who has recently argued against projecting social and political ideology onto literary works, which he believes has been a growing problem in humanities departments over the 20th century.
John William Waterhouse was an English painter known for working first in the Academic style and for then embracing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's style and subject matter. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Henry Holiday was an English historical genre and landscape painter, stained-glass designer, illustrator and sculptor. He is considered to be a member of the Pre-Raphaelite school of art.
Arthur Hughes was an English painter and illustrator associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Henry Wallis was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter, writer and collector.
Edward Robert Hughes was an English painter who worked prominently in watercolours, but also produced a number of significant oil paintings. He was influenced by his uncle and eminent artist, Arthur Hughes who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and worked closely with one of the Brotherhood's founders, William Holman Hunt.
Josef Herman, was a highly regarded Polish-British realist painter who influenced contemporary art, particularly in the United Kingdom. His work often depicted workers as it subject and was inherently political. He was among more than a generation of eastern European Jewish artists who emigrated to escape persecution and worked abroad. For eleven years he lived in South Wales.
Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, usually known as Frederick Sandys, was an English painter, illustrator and draughtsman, associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. He was also associated with the Norwich School of painters.
John Brett was an artist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, mainly notable for his highly detailed landscapes.
Rebecca Solomon was an English painter.
The Death of Chatterton is an oil painting on canvas, by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis, now in Tate Britain, London. Two smaller versions, sketches or replicas, are held by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. The Tate painting measures 62.2 centimetres (24.5 in) by 93.3 centimetres (36.7 in), and was completed in 1856.
The Beloved is an oil painting on canvas by English artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, first painted in 1865 and now in Tate Britain.
Proserpine is an oil painting on canvas by English artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted in 1874 and now in Tate Britain.
Catherine Madox Brown Hueffer, also known as Cathy, the first child of Ford Madox Brown and Emma Hill, was an artist and model associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and married to the writer Francis Hueffer.
Victorian painting refers to the distinctive styles of painting in the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). Victoria's early reign was characterised by rapid industrial development and social and political change, which made the United Kingdom one of the most powerful and advanced nations in the world. Painting in the early years of her reign was dominated by the Royal Academy of Arts and by the theories of its first president, Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds and the academy were strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael, and believed that it was the role of an artist to make the subject of their work appear as noble and idealised as possible. This had proved a successful approach for artists in the pre-industrial period, where the main subjects of artistic commissions were portraits of the nobility and military and historical scenes. By the time of Victoria's accession to the throne this approach was coming to be seen as stale and outdated. The rise of the wealthy middle class had changed the art market, and a generation who had grown up in an industrial age believed in the importance of accuracy and attention to detail, and that the role of art was to reflect the world, not to idealise it.
Lily Delissa Joseph, née Solomon, was a British artist and social campaigner active in the English suffrage movement.