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Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 'The Little Mermaid' (1855), which is the much-loved story of the Sea King’s daughter who rescues and falls in love with a human prince. The Little Mermaid sells her voice to a sea witch in exchange for a human soul and physical human form. Here she is depicted soothing her newfound feet in the sea at night. Told by the witch that she will never be able to return to the sea, she looks sadly down. Her red robe symbolises infatuation, love and martyrdom. This is the first in a series of three paintings Evelyn executed on the subject. With her developing interest in Spiritualism and the concept of the eternal soul, it is not surprising that she was inspired by the fairy story. Here the Little Mermaid yearns not only to experience human love but also to possess an eternal soul.
Seascapes were a pictorial device which Evelyn returned to time and time again. The treatment of the sea here shows Evelyn’s masterful technique. The almost geometric pattern made by the waves in the foreground and the application of the paint gives a nod to abstraction and the techniques with which the Cubists experimented some 20 years later.
The Little Sea Maid
oil on canvas
H 100.2 x W 73.4 cm