John Waterhouse

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John Waterhouse- The British Versatile Oil Painter


Born as John William Waterhouse, the painter John Waterhouse was a famous English artist known for his initial artworks in the Academic style and then for his latest artworks in the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood style. However, Waterhouse’s most famous paintings are an English painter, women from Greek Mythology, and Arthurian Legend. John Waterhouse was born in Rome, from where he may have got the mythological influence on his artworks. 

Early Life

 John Waterhouse was born in 1849 to a painter couple by the names of William and Isabella Waterhouse. He spent his formative years in Italy, the epicenter of European art in the 1800s, which many believe to be the reason behind Greek and Roman influences found in his art. He relocated to England in 1854 with his family. Belonging to an artistic household, John became involved in sketching and painting from a very young age. He would often sketch artworks that he found at the British Museum. It was in 1871 that Waterhouse joined the Royal Academy of Art to hone his interest in art. He first started in sculpture study before finally settling down with paint. 

Waterhouse’s early works depicted more classical themes than Pre Raphaelite style. One of his early works is Sleep and his half-brother Death. Painted in 1874, the artwork has classical influences. Two years later, Waterhouse painted one of his famed works, After the Dance. Every artwork of John Waterhouse only went on to make him a little more famous in the London Art circuit. 

Famous Artwork 

Waterhouse’s famous artworks have had one common subject as the center- women. His most famous artwork is the Lady of Shalott, painted originally in 1888. Another favorite subject of Waterhouse’s paintings is the legendary OpheliaOphelia was so favored that his last unfinished series of paintings were based on her, titled Ophelia in the Churchyard. His famous artworks also include Gone, but not forgotten, La Fileuse, Miranda, and Diogenes

Final Years and Death

Towards the end of his life, John Waterhouse became seriously ill with cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1915 and died two years after that. His remains now rest at the Kensal Green Cemetery in London.