A Tale from the Decameron 1916

Date: 1916
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 102 x 159 cm
Location: Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK

In A Tale from the Decameron 1916, John William Waterhouse portrays a young man telling a story in a fashionable manner. The storyteller is based on a fourteenth century Italian text, Boccaccio's Decameron. The storyteller is dressed in an elegant manner and holds a lute in his hands, reminiscent of a small acoustic guitar.

The work of John William Waterhouse is a good example of his style. He drew his inspiration from Impressionists and the Pre-Raphaelites. He also favored depictions of women in Arthurian legend and mythology. Although his focus was on classical literature, Waterhouse was interested in medieval literature. In his painting, A Tale from the Decameron, he shows the frame story of Boccaccio's Decameron. The young storytellers are playing musical instruments and are singing, making the picture seem even more opulent. The aristocratic values of the story are reflected in the painting.