Friday, October 07, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Another Sun in Libra painter with a sad story: Simeon Solomon

Searching for another arty Sun in Libra birthday I found the name of Simeon Solomon.

(Photograph from the album 'Portraits of Many Persons of Note', Frederick Hollyer, 1866.)

Simeon Solomon was born in London on 8 October 1840. He is described at Wikipedia as "an English Pre-Raphaelite painter". Huh? I thought I knew of all of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and have mentioned them more than once in posts over the years. (See HERE for example). I love their art: William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, also John William Waterhouse, William Morris and others. But Simeon Solomon? Why haven't I come across him in the past?

Answer - he was gay.

In Victorian England, to be homosexual was an uncomfortable situation indeed, and one which resulted in Solomon's "disgrace", after being arrested on more than one occasion in situations akin to those in which George Michael was discovered more than a century later. I've often said that George Michael deserves a dope slap for putting himself in such a predicament when it was surely quite unnecessary to do in public what could have been done in private, considering his wealth; much the same applies to Simeon Solomon. He was born into a prominent and wealthy Jewish family, all with artistic tendencies. He studied and later had his work exhibited at the Royal Academy. He had access to "all the right people", could have been equally as famous as any of 'em.

And what did he do? Get caught in a public urinal doing unmentionables with a gardener. He didn't even learn his lesson then. He was caught "at it" again in Paris, resulting in arrest, imprisonment, and disgrace among his peers. He fell into alcoholism and poverty.

After Solomon's death, in 1905, in abject poverty in a London workhouse, his work began to be shown and appreciated; for that, at least, we can be thankful.

A look at his natal chart, then examples of his work:

Sun in Venus-ruled Libra in harmonious trine to Neptune in Aquarius is a good start for an artist - Venus is planet of the arts, Neptune connects to imagination and creativity.....and to another side of Solomon's nature: his addictive trait (sex addiction?) Planet of the arts itself, Venus, is in passionate, erotic Scorpio, along with Jupiter.

There's a "chain" of linked planets here: starting at Sun 15 Libra - Jupiter 19 Scorpio (semi-sextile) - Saturn 17 Sagittarius (semi sextile Jupiter, sextile Sun - then Neptune 12 Aquarius (sextile Saturn, trine Sun) - Uranus 17 Pisces (trine Jupiter etc. quincunx Sun) - Pluto 19 Aries (trine Saturn...and so on). The "chain" sets up harmonious sextiles and trines, and mildly helpful semisextiles but also includes some challenging aspects - it's not all "beer and skittles"! I think chains such as this one have to indicate the coordination of positive and negative at some level.

Let's see, here we have Sun (self) "helped" by Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune. But Uranus, eccentric planet of the the unexpected sits uncomfortably in quincunx (150*) to Sun, though is in harmony with the excesses of sexy and erotic Scorpio Jupiter. That might well connect to events that led to Simeon Solomon's downfall.

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Anna Van Z said...

I never heard of this guy either, but what an immense talent!

Twilight said...

Anna Van Z ~~ Yes, agreed!

Anonymous said...

Awful maudlin stuff. Shame he ended life in the workhouse though

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ His subject matter may not be to your taste, but his talent was undeniable. :-)

Anonymous said...

Solomon's gayness is the main thing that PRESERVES his reputation. It certainly depressed his reputation in his lifetime - he was an outcast in fact - but subsequenetly and particularly since the gay movement of the 1960s and beyond, he has become a hero BECAUSE of his outcast status

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Good point - yes I'm sure you're right! I'm glad he's properly appreciated - at last.