Maxfield Parrish: American Artist

Maxfield Parrish was a modern American artist who painted and illustrated. He was born in 1870, and died in 1966. Parrish is an extremely talented artist. He created both artworks that expressed realism and classicism, and artworks that were dominated by color variations and experiential hues.

One painting that I wanted to review today is called Sleeping Beauty in the Wood created in 1912.


This painting was created for the cover of Hearst’s Magazine November 1912 issue. As the name implies, this painting is based off the story of Sleeping Beauty. This scene is supposedly meant to represent the time when the good fairy puts everyone to sleep in the castle. After a 100 years, a prince will be brave enough to come and awake the princess through true love’s first kiss.

The first time I saw this painting I was mesmerized by the realism. I saw this painting on Facebook, and it was so beautiful. To me, it kind of looked like a photograph because of the realism of the figures and faces. Parrish successful composition of these figures and landscape is further seen in his warm variety of colors.

Next, I wanted to discuss is Parrish’s variety of illustrations that he included in a first edition print of Louise Saunder’s The Knave of Hearts in 1925. Below is a handful of illustrations used throughout the play:

This play is based off one of the characters in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Saunder wrote this as a children’s book; there are also other books and variations of this character.

Here is a link to a website that includes some more illustrations by Parrish seen throughout the play. Being a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I was surprised to see that some authors, including Louise Saunder, created books, plays, and films based on certain characters within Alice in Wonderland. I was also excited to see Parrish create a variety of great illustrations that accompany this specific play.

In all, I really enjoy the work of Parrish because he experiments with both painting and illustration for and about literature.

Parrish, Daybreak, 1922 | Four illustrations from Knave of Hearts is from



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