Forgive the pun. I couldn’t help myself.
Anyways, I have decided to use artistic interpretations to illustrate the many themes, characters, and events of Arthurian legends.
The topic Arthurian art is so expansive I have a hard time knowing where to start. Really there are three main components: Medieval art, which would consist of illuminations of the manuscripts that first developed Arthurian legends; the Pre-Raphaelite movement, which abounded in paintings of Camelot; and illustrations of more modern retellings of King Arthur’s story. The Medieval illuminations are much harder to find, especially on the internet, as they are contained in very old, very valuable manuscripts inaccessible to the average person. However, more modern interpretations of Arthurian legends come in copious amounts.
The Pre-Raphaelites are my personal favorites. They literally dominate the scope of Arthurian-inspired art. This was an art movement in the 19th century that sought to return to the classical style and content of art, especially like the Italian artists preceding Raphael. Their inspiration was mainly derived from mythology, the Bible, and the Middle Ages. Naturally, Arthurian legends were large components of this.
In the next few posts I will separate pieces by subject matter so it is easier to compare styles and interpretations of different characters and events in the legends. Most paintings I will show are from the 19th century and early 20th century, as this is when the Arthurian revival was at its strongest. They will also be mostly stand-alone, as in not commissioned to illustrate a book of Arthurian legends. This allows the artist more freedom, and therefore opens up a wider variety of interpretations.