John William Waterhouse: Saint Cecilia (1895)

John William Waterhouse, Saint Cecilia (1895), oil on canvas

“In Christian iconography, Cecilia is the patron saint of music. The connection to music relates to the early accounts of Cecilia’s life. According to these, Cecilia did not want to hear musical instruments because she wanted to remain pure to be able to hear heavenly music. Saint Cecilia is based on a verse from Alfred Tennyson’s poem: ‘In a clear walled city on the sea, Near gilded organ pipes… …slept St Cecily’. Tennyson’s poems often served as an inspiration to Waterhouse…Waterhouse depicts Saint Cecilia sitting in a garden overlooking the sea. She has fallen asleep and two youthful angels serenade her with a violin and a rebec. Waterhouse weaves different symbols into the composition. For example, the roses in the walled garden refer to the rose garland that the angels placed on Cecilia’s head. The other flower in the garden is the poppy – a well-known symbol of sleep and serenity.”


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John William Waterhouse at wikiwand

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Tag: John William Waterhouse At Sunnyside

John William Waterhouse at wikimedia commons

John William Waterhouse at Christie’s

Happy Sunday! 🙂


16 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely, Sunny. Thank you!❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome, Sister Renee. 🙂🌺

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful and serene! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome, Sheila! 🙂🌺


  3. sienablue says:

    I always loved thinking of her singing in her heart, only for God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lovely thought – thanks for sharing, sienablue. 🙂🌺


  4. Jade says:

    I really love the Pre-Raphaelite artists & especially this one which I think I saw on a plaque at a very big antique shop somewhat near where I live, but I didn’t get it then, or it could’ve been a similar piece with a male musician 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jade! 🙂🌺


  5. Ana Daksina says:

    I once heard angelic music ~ and I can understand St. Cecilia’s feelings. It’s described on my site in a poem titled “Fall and Rise of the Serf.” If I haven’t done it in the last few months I’ll post it this evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must read this one – thanks so much, Ana. 🙂🌺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ana Daksina says:

        I looked it up, and it ran only four months ago. If my search bar doesn’t spit it up for you let me know and I’ll go get you a link. 🙋

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll find it – thanks, Ana! 😎🌺

        Liked by 1 person

  6. johntodaro says:

    Fascinating subject captured as a pin-sharp carefully-arranged composition. Very memorable picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, John. 🙂


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