The Magazine

April, 1894, Page: 23

Image Dimensions: 8.9 x 10.4 cms

Page Dimensions: 31.8 x 25.6 cms


Title: The Path of Life

Date: 1894

Inscription: Photograph of original work, 8.9 x 10.4 cm, attached to grey paper page, captioned beneath, “The Path of Life” / M Memps Macdonald”

Keywords: women; figures; flowers; birds; symbolism; religious art; art nouveau

Material: Photograph

Commentary: This design for stained glass depicts a centrally placed naked woman who strides towards the viewer accompanied by two angelic winged and haloed figures, with two other naked females in profile at either side of the design. Each of these last figures sheds rays of light from her hands. That on the left engenders rose leaves with her right hand and a form resembling rose blooms with her right. The other produces a thorn and a thistle flower. The birds behind the left–hand figure have been identified as swallows, those behind the opposite figure as crows. Thus it is likely that the design represents the choices that each individual has to make in life, and their consequences. The drawing from which the photograph was taken is untraced. In 1894 it was submitted by the Glasgow School of Art as an entry into the annual National Competition of schools of art, but failed to gain a prize. It was also one of the works by the Macdonald sisters which first brought their work to the attention of the public in the 1894 Glasgow School of Art Club exhibition.