Artist: De Morgan, Evelyn
Object Number: P_EDM_0028
Date: 1895
Category: Homecoming, Oil on canvas, and Paintings
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Framed: H 1505 x W 995 x D 100 mm
Inscriptions: Signature, 1895: ‘EDeM / 1895’

After Evelyn and WIlliam were married in 1887 she became particularly close to her mother-in-law Sophia De Morgan. Sophia was heavily involved with Spiritualism and her interests influenced both of the artistic couple. One particular theme in Evelyn’s work which developed from this new found involvement in religion was the competing cosmic forces of good and evil as illustrated by this painting.

The title of the painting which translates as light in darkness comes from the Latin Gospel of St. John, which refers to Christ as the light of men; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Chapter 1, verse 5). The central figure of light in the painting is the personifcation of light, goodness hope and peace as signified by her halo of light and laurel branch. Her light shines into the dark corners of the earth and at the edge of the light is the darkness, replete with dimly visible evil monsters and crocodiles which in Evelyn’s symbolic lexicon signify evil

The model for the painting is Evelyn De Morgan’s maid and muse Jane Hales.