October 18, 2010
"The Lovers" by Brett- Livingstone Strong, Depicts
Michael and Lisa-Marie in a scene very reminscent of David Nordahl's
And speaking of Jackson art, on the heels of my previous piece
about the new statue to be unveiled in China, I saw this article
The above painting, done in 1995, is credited to Brett Livingstone-Strong,
the same artist who did The Book.
Anyway, The Lovers-like so many other possessions
of Michaels or items related to him-is set to go on ebay
to be auctioned (for a pretty penny, I am sure!):
Excerpted from the above article:
The Lovers was inspired by John Waterhousess
Hylas and the Nymphs, painted in 1897. The painting
depicts a romantic couple, Jackson and Presley, surrounded by
young fairy nymphs, in an enchanting forest lagoon filled with
ferns and flowers. The painting depicts a moment in Greek mythology
where Hylas is lured into the spring by the nymphs as showed
by the nymph pulling Michael by the arm and into the spring.
Jackson and Strong chose to create this painting due to Jacksons
own persona of peace and love as the scene in the painting is
as Jackson saw himself in Greek mythology and immortality. What
has been perceived as a controversial painting is in fact a
magical and romantic masterpiece of such depths that few have
understood until now.
Its certainly a beautiful painting! However, I couldnt
help but note the striking similarities between this portrait
and David Nordahs Camelot, also commissioned
in 1995, but never officially completed. (Michael wasnt
satisfied with the castle, and wanted it to be more more
fanciful, according to Nordahl).
is a photo of Nordahls Camelot
You can see there is a striking similarity in the poses. In
both paintings, Michael is pictured from above, leaning down
to Lisa. Both paintings envoke the same romantic knight
in shining armor scenario, but in different settings.
Both paintings are depicted in mythic, long ago and faraway
settings, reinforcing the idea of a fairytale romance.
At first, I was highly suspicious that the two paintings bore
so many similarities, but I know that Strong is a legit artist
who had done other commissioned work for Michael, so those initial
suspicions were immediatly put to rest. It is more likely that
Michael simply had similar concepts for both paintings. But
its interesting that they were both commissioned at approximately
the same time, at the same juncture in his marriage to Lisa.
I am wondering why this painting has not gotten more exposure
before now. Is it possible that, as with Camelot
it was never completed to Michaels satisafaction? (And
after all, would a layperson know the difference?). Was Michael
playing with the idea of several mythical scenarios, trying
to decide which he liked best? Did he prefer being a knight
from Camelot, protector of his damsel? Or did he prefer to be
Hylas, lured into the lagoon by his seductress? Both paintings,
when compared, speak of an interesting duality in his relationship
with Lisa. Perhaps his idea, when all was said and done, was
to have both paintings as companion pieces, as a representation
of that duality?
Its an interesting theory, but no way to know for sure.
I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the history
behind this painting.
On this webpage, linked to from the above article, it does offer
up some interesting insights as to why Michael chose the image
Michael portrayed in Greek mythology
A little known fact is that this artwork is a modern day remake
of the world renowned painting by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
entitled Hylas and the Nymphs and painted in 1897.
This scene has also been recreated by other artists, most notably
by Henrietta Rae. You will find photos of both these works on
this website. The painting depicts a moment in Greek mythology
where Hylas is lured into the spring by the nymphs. Notice the
nymph pulling Michael by the arm and into the spring. Michael
and Brett chose to recreate this magical and mythical scene
due to Michaels own persona of peace and love. It is as
if Michael saw himself in Greek mythology and immortality. What
has been perceived to be a controversial painting is in fact
a magical and romantic masterpiece of such depths few have understood
A brief history about Hylas: In Greek mythology, beautiful youth.
He was the son of Theiodamas, king of the Dryopes, and friend
of Heracles. Heracles took him along on the Argonauts Expedition.
When they reached the shores of Mysia, Hylas went ashore to
find water. He found a spring, but the Nymphs of the water lured
him into the deep. Hylas fell in love with the nymphs and remained
with them to share in their powers.
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