This drawing was made when Solomon was working on 'A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep', and its imagery is closely linked with the text: all of the figures seen here feature in Solomon's narrative. From left to right they can be identified as Sleep, Memory (shown listening to the sounds in a sea shell), Eternal Silence, Love, Pleasure, Passion and finally, Death who extinguishes a burning torch.Solomon saw the figures of Pleasure and Passion as counterparts of one another. The former, smiling and 'naked but guileless', was seen by him as a positive figure representing fulfilling, intense though short-lived pleasure 'even as sweet notes heard once but lost for ever.' Her counterpart, Passion, weeping and with her hair transformed into tormenting snakes, represents unfulfilled desire turned to bitter anguish and frustration: 'her wasted beauty preyed upon itself; her face was whitened with pale fires, a hollow image of unappeased desire ... '

  • Presented by the Alfred Leadbeater Bequest Fund, 1928.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Simeon Solomon -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
SS 1870
Monogram bottom right Handwritten 1870
Text below image Handwritten 1870


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Seventh General Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings
496 Dudley Gallery, London 1871 - 1871
Androgyn: Sehnsucht nach Vollkommenheit
- Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin 1986-11-17 - 1987-01-04
- Kunstverein, Hanover 1987-02-07 - 1987-04-12
Dei ed Eroi
44 Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy 1995-03-15 - 1995-05-30
- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Gallery 17 1995-06 - 1995-09-30
- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Gallery 14 2002-03-02 - 2002-06-23
- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Gallery 17 1995-06 - 1995-09-30
- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Gallery 14 2002-03-02 - 2002-06-23
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites
76 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 2005-10-01 - 2006-01-15
76 Museum Villa Stuck, Munich 2006-03-09 - 2006-06-18


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
The Image of the Androgyne in the Nineteenth Century
A. J. L. Busst 1967 Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., London pp. 50-51.
Simeon Solomon and Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Steven Kolsteren May 1982 - fig. 4; p. 40.
The Life and Work of Simeon Solomon 1840-1905
Gayle Seymour 1986 University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan fig. 184, p. 407; pp. 195-196.
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites
Colin Cruise 2005 Merrell, London and New York p. 122.

Related work & resources

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  • Created by Alex Pilcher

    20 July 2009

    The figures in this drawing are similar in spirit to the 'ignudi' on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It is hard to point to specific parallels - and Michelangelo's nudes are far more animated than languorous figures drawn by Solomon. There does seem however to be a clear relationship between Sleep, on the left of Solomon's drawing, and the 'ignudo' Michelangelo painted above and to the left of the Cumaean Sibyl.

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