“Art is eternal, but life is short.”

                                                                                                                                                       

 

- The artist, on her seventeenth birthday.

Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1915)

Hands

coloured chalks on buff paper

10 ⅜ x 19 in. (26.3 x 48.3 cm.)

£18500

 

An important second generation Pre-Raphaelite, Evelyn de Morgan was a spiritualist, who experimented - along with her husband Willem - with automatic or trance spirit writing. Their thoughts on the subject, were published in The result of an experiment (1909), which concluded that they had sceptically explored automatic writing (which can be done through a Ouija board, or directly onto paper), but ended up believing that spirits were communicating through them.

Hands holds an element of this mysticism, the arms reaching out, as if casting a spell or incantation. The subtle shading, and rich use of chalks contrast the deep olive paper, highlighting the almost luminescent forms, the fingers, hands and arms poised, as if conducting a particularly sensitive movement in a concerto.