Artist: De Morgan, Evelyn
Object Number: P_EDM_0003
Date: 1877
Category: Oil on canvas and Paintings
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Canvas: H 598 x W 1012 mm Frame: H 904 x W 1328 x D 50 mm
Inscriptions: Signature, 1877, ‘EP 1877’

This is one of Evelyn’s earliest paintings, executed shortly after she left the Slade School of Art. It was also the first that she exhibited at the influential Grosvenor Gallery, in London. Like many of Evelyn’s earliest works, it is painted in a neo-classical style and is inspired by Greek mythology. The painting depicts, Ariadne (the daughter of the King of Minos) who was abandoned by her lover Theseus, whilst she slept on the island of Naxos. Awakening to her fate, Ariadne is normally portrayed in a frenzied rage; in contrast Evelyn shows her after her rage has subsided, solitary and desolate, her red robe conveying the idea of martyrdom. The many shells on the shoreline symbolise female sexuality, fertility and love.