OIL PAINTING: The Golden Stairs, 1876-1880
"Burne-Jones was one of the first artists to break away from the conventional canvas size and presentation of paintings. Burne-Jones was fascinated with strongly linear composition which suited his somewhat flat technique (especially with draperies) and the challenges of presenting and exaggerating the subjects with the size and shapes of his canvases. Sometimes this meant using long and horizontal fields; other times, and more often, extremely tall and narrow as in King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid and The Golden Stairs. This highly mannered style of dreamy, literary romance exaggerates and encapsulates the subject and gives it an other-world intensity that would be lost on a bigger canvas. This also altered the perception of perspective: either particularly deep or very compressed. The figures in The Golden Stairs are always graceful and often possess a languid quality much copied by later Victorian artists such as Lord Leighton and Alma-Tadema
. Color was not so important to him as form; indeed his coloring is often sombre and drawn from a very narrow palette. Furthermore his figures often possess an androgynous quality - many of the hoeroes of Burne-Jones paintings have distinctly feminine looks.