OIL PAINTING: King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, 1883
Burne-Jones was one of the first artists to break away from the conventional canvas size and presentation of paintings - King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid. He 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.