Picture Talk: Clytie

Picture Talk: Clytie

Every Friday, 3pm

Free with admission, booking not required

Discover more about the Collection in our weekly ten minute expert talks. Each week introduces a different work of art in the Gallery.

This week join Dr Chloe Ward, the Watts Gallery Curatorial Fellow, to learn more about Watts's fascination with the mythological figure of Clytie. This weeks picture talk will look at Watts' painting Clytie (1865-69), which is also known as Sunflower, and its sculpted counterpart in bronze.

Watts's painted version of the myth of Clytie appears never to have been exhibited or reviewed in Britain, unlike its sculpted counterpart which caused a sensation at its first exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, in 1868. Whether Watts expressed the subject first in paint or sculpture is difficult to assess. Both the bust and the painting are of a life-size scale, evoking the physical presence of Clytie. The composition of Watts's painted Clytie is virtually identical to that of the frontal view of the sculptural bust: the head is turned to the far left in a 'lost profile', and the proper right arm is held closely to the chest while the proper left arm is bent sharply backwards, conveying the impression of movement in a moment of uncomfortable transformation. Dr Ward will explore the differences and similarites between the two works and how they shed light on Watts's working practices.