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Edward John Poynter



Edward John Poynter
Paris 1836 – London 1919




About 1870


Oil on canvas


40.6 x 33.7 cm


William John and Agnes Learmont Bequest, inv. 1909.588


Western Art

This exquisite painting, while less ambitious in scale and in composition than those depicting Greco-Roman life on which Poynter established his reputation, demonstrates the qualities for which Poynter’s work was valued, such as an adept depiction of surfaces and the contrasts between them, exemplified in the marble column, the girl’s face, and the copper pot hanging from her wrist.

The subject of Cinderella was a popular one among the artist’s contemporaries, including a well-known version by his brother-in-law, Burne-Jones. Despite his obvious talents, Poynter’s reputation early in his career, when he was counted among the more talented and progressive artists of his generation, has been overshadowed by his long-standing service as the president of the Royal Academy (from 1898 until 1918), and his disdain for the modern painting techniques of the Impressionists. Poynter was also notably the last artist to be the director of the National Gallery in London, a position he occupied from 1894 to 1904.

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