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Swans of Lir

Artist Statement: Swans of Lir is the series I’m working on at present, based on
Celtic folklore / mythology. The original legend describes  a jealous stepmother Aoife who  has married the Irish King Lir after his first wife had died and
decides to rid herself of his children.
She goes to the lake with a wand to cast her spell which changes the children of the king  into Swans for  900 years.
When the king goes to the lake to look for them all he sees is 4 beautiful swans.
This legend forms the basis of the Ballet “Swan Lake” My work has far more positive outcomes than the original legend In this work Fionnghuala one of the swans has changed back into human form to remember her mortal beauty if only for a short while, she is being carried across the waters of Inish Glora to safety on the back of her brother Conn.
The white swan is the largest bird in Europe and is noted for it’s great beauty, so much so that to this day they have Royal patronage dating back to the 13th century.
The sovereign of the time created the title “Keeper of the Kings Swans“there is also an office within the British royal household where  the reigning sovereign of Englands Warden of the Swans resides. - John Maitland

Medium: Acrylic and oil on canvas
Dimensions: 102 x 152 cms
Date: 2023
Condition: Excellent

CHG Director's Statement: John Maitland is considered by some “one of Australia’s most exciting artists” (John Norris, Prime Arts Publishing), while his works have been referred to as “possessing the exquisite line and colour of a Matisse”.

John Maitland captures children, people, families and indigenous Australians within their environment. His compositions provide insight into the personality of those within his paintings or their connection to the landscape, giving the viewer a yearning for life's simple pleasures. His figurative paintings are colourful, alluring, ethereal, dreamy and command a strong following.


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Swans of Lir



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