Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Green Lady

"The Green Lady" is my submission for the November Art Bead Scene monthly challenge; here's the inspiration painting:

Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni
by Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927)
Watercolour, gouache and gum arabic, 30.9in × 24.1 in.

The woman is a character from the Italian poet Dante. She was described as a heartless lady dressed in green. In her hand she holds a crystal bowl reflecting the figures of Love and Dante.

The artist, Marie Euphrosyne Spartali, later Stillman , was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent, arguably the greatest female artist of the movement. During a sixty-year career she produced over one hundred works, contributing regularly to galleries in Great Britain and the United States.

The artist, herself:

She and her two cousins, were known collectively among friends as "the Three Graces", after the Charities of Greek mythology, as all three were noted beauties of Greek heritage.

It was in the house of a Greek businessman, in south London, that Marie and her sister Christine met Whistler and Swinburne for the first time. They were dressed in white with blue ribbon sashes. Swinburne was so overcome that he said of Spartali: "She is so beautiful that I want to sit down and cry". Marie was a tall, imposing figure, and, in her later years, dressed in long flowing black garments with a lace hood, attracting much attention throughout her life.

The subjects of her paintings were typical of the Pre-Raphaelites: female figures; scenes from Shakespeare, Petrarch, Dante and Boccaccio; also Italian landscapes. She exhibited in England and at various galleries in the eastern USA, including the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. A retrospective show of her work took place in the United States in 1982.

My goal was to create a piece that looked as if it might have been worn by the lady in the painting. I started by creating a base grid using right angle weave, which I filled with olivine fire polished glass beads. I transitioned into square stitch to form the clasp, which also incorporates an antique button.

The star of the piece is the amazing pendant, formed of bronze metal clay and a real peridot from Etsy artist Wanda Cardenas at Epiphany of a Dragonfly.

I think the result is worthy of wear by a lovely Pre-Raphaelite lady!


  1. Very beautiful piece! I can envision this necklace around her neck also.

  2. Gasp! That is stunning. STUNNING! I am in awe of how you interpret things. Enjoy the day!