Medium: Watercolor on paper
Dimensions: 8 5/8 × 6 1/8 in. (21.9 × 15.6 cm)
frame: 22 1/4 × 18 7/16 in. (56.5 × 46.8 cm)
Credit Line: Louisa du Pont Copeland Memorial Fund, 2006
About: As is often the case in fairy tales, the story of Bluebeard is a bit violent for the youthful audience to whom it was directed. Bluebeard, whose previous wives have all disappeared mysteriously, departs for a trip, leaving his new bride all the keys to the castle. In his absence, she discovers the murdered bodies of Bluebeard’s previous wives. With great diplomacy, Greenaway has chosen a moment of relative calm, illustrating the scene when Bluebeard hands the keys to his wife before setting out on his trip. The medieval setting reflects the widespread appeal of this era fostered by Pre-Raphaelite imagery.
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