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Your Time: Sex, Lies and Oil on Canvas

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“Water Willow” (pictured) depicts model Jane Morris instead of painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s regular muse and paramour Elizabeth Siddal.  Rossetti’s affairs are well chronicled at the Delaware Art Museum.

courtesy of the Delaware Art Museum www.delart.org

 

 

 

 

Meet Elizabeth Siddal.

Muse of Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, she is
pictured in “Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal” at the
Delaware Art Museum.

Siddal became Rosetti’s bride. Never mind that, while they planned their wedding, Rossetti was living with a prostitute and sleeping with his best friend’s wife.

And never mind that, after Siddal perished while giving birth to his child, he exhumed her body to recover the poetry he had buried her with, thus launching a celebrated literary career.

It’s just one of the tales of sex, licentiousness and infidelity told in “The Return of the Pre-Raphaelites,” Delaware Art Museum’s reintroduction of its signature collection of paintings, which are back after a triumphant two-year international tour. Opening September 23, the 150-work exhibit tells the story of seven artists who, united in 1848, rebelled against techniques taught by the Royal Academy schools. They also drew themes from contemporaneous issues.

Curator Margaretta Frederick compares the Pre-Raphaelite era to today. “The Industrial Revolution in England was a time when the landscape went from rural to polluted and social issues like prostitution were prevalent,” she says. “And today, given our environmental concerns, the war in Iraq and other social concerns, we need this art now as much as people did then. It’s a dreamy escape.”

There is one more reason to view the collection, the largest of its kind outside of England. “Now that the paintings are back,” Frederick says, “it means the Delaware Art Museum is whole again.”

For information, call 571-9590, or visit delart.org.                     —Maria Hess

 

 

 
A scene from

“The War.”

Bitche, France,
March 16, 1945

 

 

The War Stars

 

We’re waiting with bated breath for this month’s PBS premiere of “The War,” a seven-part series about World War II by none other than former Newark resident Ken Burns. Burns, who created the piece with Lynn Novick, calls it “a sort of epic poem and not a textbook,” not unlike his “Baseball,” “Jazz” or “The Civil War.” What the modest genius should say is that he doesn’t hire intellectual windbags to regurgitate facts. The people who lived his stories tell the stories, which is one reason Burns’ films are so intimate. Given his past accomplishments, “The War” will do more than chronicle a catastrophe. It will demonstrate how ordinary people survive extraordinary things.         —Maria Hess

 

 

 

 

A Class Act for 75 Years

 

For the Wilmington Drama League, age isn’t just a number. It’s proof of commitment to producing theater in Delaware—for 75 years. Made up solely of volunteers, the league puts together eight productions a year, runs a summer camp and provides acting classes producing many well-known actors, including John Gallagher, who won a Tony Award in June for his role in “Spring Awakening.” “Organizations are like people. They have their own biorhythms,” says director-at-large Kate Monaghan. “Our future hasn’t always been bright, but now, with all the range of things we have going on, I have no doubt that in 25 years we will still be here and will still be an important part of Delaware.” To mark the anniversary, the league is making a documentary about its history. Member and filmmaker Bernardo Villela is calling on one of the league’s eldest members, Ruby Stanley, who, in her 40 years with the league, has seen everything from forgotten lines, to skipped scenes, to lead characters who needed to XYZ through the entire show. “Part of the joy of being involved in theater is seeing what you can pull over the audience,” Stanley says, with a laugh. See how 75 years of rehearsing pays off during the league’s next production, “Noises Off!” which will run September 14-29. For more information, call 764-1132.

—Helen Jardine

 

 

 

 

What happens when 2,000 gyrating Elvis fans descend upon Dewey Beach? Find out September 21-22, when Ruddertowne hosts the Sixth Annual Elvis Fest. There’ll be kiosks loaded with memorabilia, fried chicken and unusual tributes befitting pure jailhouse rockers. But don’t miss the Elvis contest, where beer-bellied and cut Elvises will be judged on everything from the size of their belt buckles to the swivel of their hips. The top three Kings will split a $5,000 cash prize.  Admission is free. For more information, call 227-3888.

  —Adam Asher

 

 

 

Swingin’ Get into the swing of things during the annual Sports Classic for the Bernard & Ruth Siegel Jewish Community Center on September 10 at the beautiful Wilmington Country Club. The event has hit a milestone, celebrating its 15th successful year of golf, croquet and tennis tournaments. No matter what your racquet (or club), you’ll be sure to have a great time. For more, call 478-5660, or visit www.siegeljcc.org.

 

 

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