mercer mayer’s beauty & the beast

working on some new paintings which will be offered on etsy as well as two private commissions. in the meantime i wanted to share one of my favorite books when i was a kid, mercer & marianna mayer’s “beauty & the beast”.
they were husband & wife at the time~ i believe they were married throughout the pinnacle of mercer’s art. i’ve found 2 photos of marianna & not coincidentally she bears a striking resemblance to “beauty” as well as his other fairy tale heroines.

clearly a homage to durer’s “st. jerome in his study”, it depicts the moment the merchant must tell his family that they are financially ruined. of his 6 children only one son lays a comforting hand on his father’s arm as well as, of course, beauty herself. the others seem annoyed &/or stunned.

durer’s “st. jerome in his study”, conventionally thought to represent a life of contemplation.

beauty, at the beast’s castle, bidding goodbye to her father. i could chat endlessly about how beautiful each of these paintings is, but instead i’ll tell you what they mean to me. i learned to draw profiles from this picture, in particular the iris. i learned to paint skin as well from mayer. i still find his heavily blushed cheeks wonderful. in my own work i overemphasize them to create an artificial doll-like beauty. her hands also are particularly well drawn.

a difficult semi profile well executed. notice beauty’s hand on her book, how tense the fingers are. the beast’s castle is loaded with egyptian artifacts while beauty wears egyptian sandals. note the rose motif in the curtain & the castle’s stonework.

italian clothing & decor with egyptian details. each painting is outlined in india ink. the pencils are left as shadows & over-painted in watercolor. the sheer amount of detail in this picture is staggering. i used to day dream about wandering up the stairs in the background.

the text reads, “the beast was a magician as well. often while telling a story he would wave his arm & a picture would unfold before their eyes.”

i would die if someone made beauty’s jewellery. look at that gorgeous butterfly headdress!

the beast, alone & crying bc beauty has left. of course she returns & they live happily ever after.
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Alisha says:

    Your comments on Mayer's beautiful paintings are so thoughtful and really bring new appreciation to his work. Thank you.(I linked back to your site from my humble tumblr, please let me know if you'd like me to take down your quotes or link.)

  2. i don't mind at all. i'm so glad to meet someone else who likes his work :Di followed your tumblr, btw~

  3. Anonymous says:

    OH MY GOSH!! I have been in love with Mercer Mayer's talent in artwork the moment i saw it! I was only 9 when i first saw his artwork in the book the Sleeping Beauty and Beauty & the Beast. I learned how to draw gorgeous hands from Mr. Mayer. I have always loved & will always love his artworks!

  4. Katastrofa says:

    One book that has really left imprints on my mind was Idries Shah’s World Tales. Look it up the art is amazing.

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