Back in May, the family Walker went off to see the new Disney film Maleficent which is basically a version of the Sleeping Beauty story told from the viewpoint of the 'bad' witch, Maleficent. The lovely Elle Fanning, above, played Aurora, the princess who should not take part in any needlecraft whatsoever and she fell into her enchanted sleep in a very elegant manner indeed. The whole film is a lovely take on the tale and everyone looks splendid, especially Angelina Jolie's cheekbones. This made me think about Victorian art. Let's be honest, everything makes me think about Victorian art...
|The Rose Bower (Buscot Park Dining Room) Edward Burne-Jones|
|Sleeping Beauty Joseph Edward Southall|
|Sleeping Beauty Daniel Maclise|
|The Bad Fairy Visits the Christening (1913-22) Leon Bakst|
|The King Pleads With the Good Fairy (1913-22) Leon Bakst|
|The Prince Awakens the Princess with a Kiss (1913-22) Leon Bakst|
The above are taken from the Sleeping Beauty cycle by Leon Bakst from around the time of the First World War. The dense, jewel-like colours of the castle show the opulence of the kingdom and yet even within that blessed household, bad stuff happens. In some ways Sleeping Beauty is a cautionary tale of how it doesn't matter how rich you are, there are certain things you can't escape.
|Sleeping Beauty Edward Brewtnall|
|Sleeping Beauty William Breakespeare|
|Sleeping Beauty (Resting) Victor Gabriel Gilbert|
In some ways, Sleeping Beauty is a difficult character to empathise with as she seems entirely the passive victim in her story. She is grasped by fate, by inevitability, and she has no part in her curse nor in its cure, unless you count her beauty. Mind you, it is a story I love because sometimes in life somethings are unavoidable, they just happen to you and there is nothing you can do. What Sleeping Beauty tells us that one way or another, everything will be alright.
Tomorrow I have some pictures for the shoe-loving girls among us...