was inspired by a poem of the same name by Algernon Charles Swinburne, telling the story of a knight who has been seduced by the goddess Venus. The knight struggles with his conscience, and eventually leaves to beg forgiveness from the Pope. When this forgiveness is refused, he returns to the goddess. This painting shows this part of the story from Venus’s perspective – pining for her absent lover.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Date of work
An English painter, Sir Edward Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham and educated at Oxford, where he met his lifelong friend William Morris. He studied briefly under Dante Gabriel Rossetti but soon outgrew his influence despite retaining great respect for him. Burne-Jones later visited Italy with John Ruskin, seeing works by Botticelli and Mantegna which had a profound influence on him. From 1878, Burne-Jones gained a European reputation and influenced both continental Symbolism and Art Nouveau.