Frederic William Burton, Irish, 1816-1900
Title: Faust's First Sight of Marguerite
Date: 1857
Medium: Watercolour with white highlights on paper
Dimensions:
71 x 62.5 cm
Signed: lower left: F.W. Burton 1857
Credit Line: Purchased, 2001
Object Number: NGI.19602
DescriptionFaust was a mythical travelling alchemist, astrologer and conjurer who lived in Germany in the early sixteenth century. His legend was famously retold by Goethe in Faust, the poet’s two-part tragic drama of the early nineteenth century. Faust’s soul is the subject of a bargain between God and the evil spirit Mephistopheles. The crucial scene depicted in Burton’s intricately detailed and richly coloured watercolour is the moment when Faust encounters the innocent Marguerite. Mesmerised by her beauty, he succumbs to temptation, thereby sealing his fate. Marguerite dies and Faust is left to wallow in misery and self-loathing.
ProvenanceSigismund Rucker by 1862; Sir Theodore Martin by 1900; purchased, Sotheby's, London, 18 May 2001, lot 156 (with support of the Patrons of Irish Art)
Exhibition HistorySociety of Painters in Water Colours, London, 1857, no. 130

International Exhibition, London, 1862, no. 1185

Institute of Painters in Water Colours, London, 1871, no.100

Loan Collection of Works by Sir F.W. Burton, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1900, no. 8

Taking Stock: Acquisitions 2000-2010, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 13 March 2010 - 25 July 2010