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Cafe Legend and MOTM Jan 2011
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I have observed that I am not the only INFP woman who feels some kind of connection to the paintings of John William Waterhouse, particularly the paintings where he used Gwendoline Gunn as his model, but also some of the others. I felt it the very first time I saw a copy of one of his paintings at a college poster sale. I was immediately drawn to it, because there was something inexplicably very "me" about it. I could never quite put my finger on what it was, and still can't.

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What is it about these paintings that tends to appeal to us? Is there something that makes them express the quintessential essence of INFPness? I have never been able to figure it out.
 

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Wow, Yea, they are pretty captivating. The first one looks like my mother in her teens. I feel a clumsiness in their movements, which might derive from a feeling of indecisiveness. But infused with this there is a gentleness in their gestures. This combination creates a sense of vulnerability, but their eyes are not congruent with the rest of their body, particularly the first two. They are very intense to the point where they have penetrative qualities.
 

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John William Waterhouse's work features a lot of mythology and archetypal stuff. I think that's one of the appeals of it, that personification of concepts and non-related elements. Fairies are similar, in that they sort of represent elements of nature, but in a human form, making them relatable. And I think INFP learn and understand things in a similar way--by relating to the humanity of them, or relating themselves to them. This is similar to how much supernatural mythology works, from satyrs to gods (they are both "human" and also represent some intangible concept or some natural force).

Other than that though, I find the form and posing expressive. And in the three pictures you put up, it is as if we are peeking into private moments of these women's lives, getting to see something that's meaningful to them, but we are not entirely privy to what is going on.

The first picture reminds me a little bit of the chaos and instability of life, and how we might struggle to keep from being blown around, though it's still beautiful with all the little flowers growing everywhere. So it's like about enjoying the changing seasons, and the fragile delicacy of life as it constantly changes and flows. And again--it's about the little happinesses like picking flowers in spring.

The second picture reminds me of love. As if we are peeking on a girl who's peeking on someone else. Like she's viewing something interesting and beautiful from a secret distance, just as we are. She's holding a rose, and it seems precious and symbolic to her, personally. And we get a glimpse into that private moment. It also reminds me of the pain and pleasure of love when it's not requited or able to be fulfilled. Or maybe it's about being able to see an ideal, but also knowing that it is unattainable, yet still respecting and honoring that beauty.

And then the third feels similarly, as if we are catching someone enjoying the little things in life. She also seems unaware, and as if she's just acting out of her own private motivations without consideration for how she will appear to others.

PLUS--maybe he's just an amazing painter! I love his work and I think it speaks to a lot of people. It's delicate and gentle though, and expressive and very "human," "natural" (like--featuring a lot of elements of nature), and also archetypal.

I also enjoy that period though--because they were focusing a lot on gender roles and exploring mythology and dualities...almost though as if there is a focus on finding balance or harmony between duality. A lot of writing from that period is like that--symbolic opposites in harmony. It's fun to play with those cultural ideas, and also to understand concepts with that human and relationship-oriented perspective.

I don't want to take the magic out by analyzing too much--it's also just magical.

: p I wrote this pretty fast, and I don't think my post really does it justice.
 

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I don't know, but I agree with you.

Everything about how he renders his female subjects speaks to me.

They are delicate, pensive, innocent, passionate, dignified. Even the garments he paints them in are appealing to me. The colours, textures, not to mention that I love classical and renaissance lines and details in clothing.

His work alludes to both. He chose subjects with unusually Grecian physical features for English women (straight nose, strong jaw, thick wiry hair) to make them seem statuesque and then put them in medieval clothing.

It was a time that didn't exist but exists eternally in the heart of INFPs... King Arthur's time!
 
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Wow, Yea, they are pretty captivating. The first one looks like my mother in her teens. I feel a clumsiness in their movements, which might derive from a feeling of indecisiveness. But infused with this there is a gentleness in their gestures. This combination creates a sense of vulnerability, but their eyes are not congruent with the rest of their body, particularly the first two. They are very intense to the point where they have penetrative qualities.
So, they just scream FiNe?
 

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Thanks for this post! I admit I have not seen these paintings before, but they really resonate with me! To me, it seems as though they haven't a care in the world except for finding beauty. They are not preoccupied, headlong and grim, with duties like laundry or dishes or tending to mundanity or busy work. They shirk these things in search of meaning and beautiful things. Just lovely :)
 

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Don't they look weak to you? I find they make me uncomfortable. I think these are beautiful and easy to relate to:

 




We, or at least I, do not tend to find weakness in graceful femininity because strength is not something that's worn on the surface. The pictures in your example, while I do find them aesthetically appealing, seem to portray the idea that a woman has to do away with any part of her that may seem delicate in order to "look" strong. That probably seems just as weak to me as the inverse does to you. But this is what makes art and how people relate to it endlessly interesting :)
 

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We, or at least I, do not tend to find weakness in graceful femininity because strength is not something that's worn on the surface. The pictures in your example, while I do find them aesthetically appealing, seem to portray the idea that a woman has to do away with any part of her that may seem delicate in order to "look" strong. That probably seems just as weak to me as the inverse does to you. But this is what makes art and how people relate to it endlessly interesting :)
They don't look graceful to me. Graceful femininity is strong.
 

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This one particularly reminds me of a poem by Lord Byron

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
 

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I feel really connected to Alphonse Mucha's work.
Alphonse Mucha is one of my favorite artists! I love the way how he portrays his female subjects. Sensual, alluring, mysterious with a hint of mischief and sometimes danger in some. They all seem like they are intensely lost in their thoughts, though not necessarily naïve, which I can relate to. There is the slightest hint of darkness in their essence, the promise of a sin about to be committed.

I don't quite relate to John William Waterhouse paintings. They are pleasant to the eye though. And his female subjects definitely depict the INFP females to a T! But yet I cannot find myself in them?

I think these are beautiful and easy to relate to:

This painting is intriguing to me. Though to the naked eye it may seem like random paint smears, to me, it's like a bunch of thoughts trying to mesh with one another, trying to take form. I suppose it's representative of how my mind works sometimes, haha.
 

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I think it's partly how they communicate with their body language by both communicating to the viewer but also making distance? They look vulnerable, and private and seceretive but also like they are communicating with you in part. Notice how the body is always partly twisted towards but partly away from the eye...
 

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They don't look graceful to me. Graceful femininity is strong.
I find this interesting.
I don't find the original paintings weak at all, I actually thought they reminded me of joan of arc of a kind of spiritual strength/purity.

While I am interested by the art you post, I don't particularly find it personally relatable or beautiful, or strong. Interesting how different people see things so differently!
 

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Beautiful bitches and flowers, what's not to love?







Okay sorry for my language, the http://personalitycafe.com/infp-forum-idealists/544514-chat-like-non-infp.html thread still has me in its grips a little.

Honestly when I look at these paintings they really intrigue and draw me in, to put it softly it captures what I find the most perfect and beautiful form of femininity. NF women vibes. @Twitchie 's pictures don't do it for me at all, but that comes down to taste and interpretation. In a sense women are like flowers, as they flourish and draw others in with their fertile beauty during spring bringing color to life, the women are the focal point and main subject but they blend in as if they're part of the scenery itself - signifying the beauty of nature. The atmosphere captured in these paintings are amazing to me.

That's my interpretation, thanks for introducing me to a new artist @snail :).
 

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*glances at avatar*

I umm, don't think I have anything to add. But yes, his paintings have spoken to me for years. This is the style of my soul, if my soul were a painting.

I also like Mucha's paintings. Art nouveau is wonderful, especially the architecture...
 

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This painting is intriguing to me. Though to the naked eye it may seem like random paint smears, to me, it's like a bunch of thoughts trying to mesh with one another, trying to take form. I suppose it's representative of how my mind works sometimes, haha.
This painting is like my thoughts and body entwined as they always are. Perfectly aligned and in motion. Swirling and flying and leaping and running and fighting. Formless because as soon as one thought and one action has begun, I'm moving onto the next and the next. Leapfrogging. It's all that movement and color that represents me so well. It's not just physical movement. My mind is a 4 dimensional almost touchable space. I'm not good at words. But this painting is very me.
 

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In a sense women are like flowers, as they flourish and draw others in with their fertile beauty during spring bringing color to life, the women are the focal point and main subject but they blend in as if they're part of the scenery itself - signifying the beauty of nature. The atmosphere captured in these paintings are amazing to me.
And what of women who aren't fertile for whatever reason? I dislike being compared to flowers. I'm not decorative.
 
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