#FridayPainting: Edward Burne-Jones “Portrait of Denis Mackail” Grandson of the Artist

The more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint. Their wings are my protest in favor of the immortality of the soul.” Edward Burne-Jones

Portrait of Denis Mackail, Grandson of the Artist, by Edward Coley Burne-Jones

What is a portrait?

Whether a painting, photograph, sculpture, poster or mural, the artist’s intention is to create an image, in which the face is predominant, that presents the likeness, personality, mood, and appearance of a person. The definition takes on a deeper, more personal perspective, as a viewer studies the portrait, looking into the eyes of a person that looks out from the confines of a two-dimensional image.

Edward Burne-Jones captured the face of his grandson, Denis Mackail, who was destined to become an English novelist and short-story writer. There is a poignancy in the portrait, that of a young child with the promise of a lifetime in his steady gaze. The portrait was painted in 1897, one year before Edward Burne-Jones’s passing.

A portrait holds the stories of two people, that of the artist and the sitter, whose face will evolve to reflect the combined narratives.