Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 68.5 x 55 cm
Location: Towneley Hall Art Gallery, Burnley, Lancashire, UK
John William Waterhouse, an English painter, explored the theme of destiny in his masterpiece Destiny 1900. The Greek goddess Tyche and the Roman goddess Fortuna both embodied good fortune, and both were female. The Classics influenced Waterhouse's style, as did the Symbolist movement in France. Waterhouse's work was often set in ancient Rome and was heavily influenced by Roman mythology.
The painting was a commission for the Artists' War Fund, a charity created to support British soldiers and their widows during the Boer War. Destiny 1900 by John William Waterhouse was a stunningly ambitious piece of art, and Waterhouse's interest in Greek mythology made him an ideal candidate for the role. Waterhouse's vision was so compelling that it earned him the title “modern Pre-Raphaelite.”
The subject of Destiny 1900 by John William Waterhouse is a famous English Romantic figure. The woman is the Lady of Shalott, a fictional character from an English Romantic poem. Waterhouse depicts her just before she dies on a branch over a lake. This painting is also associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and revival, and the two swallows in the foreground represent rebirth.