Pandora 1896

Date: 1896
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 152 x 91 cm

The famous painting, Pandora, by John William Waterhouse, depicts a beautiful young maiden contemplating life in the forest. The work is based on a Greek myth, wherein the gods punished mankind for the hunger for knowledge. In the Greek myth, a large jar was created by Zeus and sent to the earth, where man was tempted to open it and let all the evils of the world out. Waterhouse drew on his love of classical literature and the myth of Pandora to create his masterpiece.

Though he is not as famous as some of his fellow Pre-Raphaelites, Waterhouse's artwork is exhibited at some of the most prestigious art galleries in the UK. The Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.

Other than Pandora, Waterhouse also painted the famous subject of Ophelia. This portrait of Ophelia shows her moments before her death, on a tree branch leaned over a lake. This painting resembles other works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais. Waterhouse also painted three different versions of The Lady of Shalott. Both of these paintings depict a famous woman from Shakespeare's play.