Keats and art

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Keats and art

Postby Saturn » Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:26 am

What does everyone think of Keats' fascination with art and artists?

His friendships with two artists in particular are very interesting.

From what I've seen of Haydon's work (only Christ's Entry...) He was a good, but not a great artist.

Severn's work looks much more interesting, and of course his many posthumous portraits of Keats are fascinating, but I find that the most arresting image of Keats is the sketch executed by Brown which graces Andrew Motion's Biography cover.

That portrait shows a much more real and living, breathing Keats than Severn's somewhat romanticised and idealistic pictures of the great poet.

We know also of many paintings which directly, or indirectly affected his work.
Most of these famous pictures were seen by Keats in Hunt or Haydon's prints of famous works which were immensely popular and were really the only way ordinary people could see the work of the great masters.

Are there any artists out there who would be able to tell us what they think of the work of Severn and Haydon, and perhaps generally on the great influence, and the crossover between the worlds of Romantic poetry and art which was particualrly prevalent at that period?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Matt » Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:47 pm

I love that picture of Keats by Brown! I think I love it because Keats looks wondefully handsome! You like to think dont you that a man who wrote so beautifully had the looks to match.

All other portraits of Keats, I find, present him as rather unnattractive, perhaps even ugly I find. His top lip is prominent over his lower lip and his nose is quite prominent also. Even his hair looks odd.

I'd like to think that Brown, who perhaps knew Keats most, drew him most accurately. However, the numerous other portraits of Keats by different artists, whom all depict Keats in the way mentioned above, would suggest otherwise.
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