Trivium Art HistorySimeon Solomon

Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene

Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, 1864 — Simeon Solomon,
33 cm38.1 cm

Sappho embraces her fellow poet Erinna in a garden at Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos. Sappho was born on Lesbos in 612 BCE, and wrote nine books of poetry about the joy and frustration of love. Her most complete surviving poem is an invocation to the goddess Aphrodite to help her woo another woman.

Simeon Solomon explored themes of homosexuality more openly than many of his contemporaries. While the Pre Raphaelite painters dabbled with sexual situations and the not-so-subtle tension of desire, as a gay man, Solomon would eventially be arrested and fined for his lifestyle, damaging his career and driving him into poverty. 

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