This is an allegorical painting where the representation of an abstract idea is expressed by using specific objects, human figures, and symbols. Here, the female nude symbolizes ideal beauty. We see a soldier wrapped with a spellbound look; an artist kissing her hand with respect; a poet with a raised hand holding a book, probably indicating some verses written in praise; and a gentleman looking at her with interest: all expressions to convey admiration for beauty. The fruits and silverware are gifts that indicate adoration. Rapid brushwork, bright colours and the stark contrast between the figures in the foreground and background is a characteristic feature of this painting.
William Strang (1859-1921) was born at Dumbarton and moved to London when he was sixteen. There he studied art at the Slade School for six years. By the mid-1890s, he had an international reputation as an artist. At first, he concentrated on imaginary allegorical scenes in a pseudo-Venetian manner influenced by his friends, Ricketts and Shannon. Strang produced several paintings, portraits, nude figures in landscapes, and groups of peasant families, which were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the International Society and several German exhibitions. He was one of the original members of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and his work was a part of their first exhibition in 1881.
Sir Ratan Tata Collection
Oil on Canvas