Frederick Sandys


Wood engraving by Joseph Swain

6 7/8 x 4 inches

Illustration for The Cornhill Magazine, September 1862, facing p.346.

The illustration depicts the legend of Manoli. Manoli, a master-builder, was told by God in a dream to sanctify his work by sacrificing the first woman he sees; this happens to be his wife, here about to be walled up by the relentless believer. Sandys had a strong interest in grotesque and challenging material and draws a sharp contrast between the terrified expression of the woman and her husband’s slow purposefulness, ignoring her pleas and continuing as if engaged in a routine task. As usual, the drama is heightened by the claustrophobic smallness of the setting, with the characters pressed into a vertical composition which, in its very narrowness, suggests both Manoli’s wife’s terror and the grave-like niche in which she will be incarcerated.

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Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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