26 Dec 2011

Lady Penelope

First time Mirabelle spotted 'The Lady of Shalott', the thought of Penelope came straight over (as Penelope is mythically known to painstakingly unweave by night the needlework she had accomplished by day, as part of some unspoken pact she had made with herself while waiting for her Ulysses to return). Hope is conveyed to the lovelorn with the message that love comes to those who wait (or so are we made to believe)!

Sources: (1) 'I am Half-Sick of Shadows Said the Lady of Shalott' (1916), oil on canvas by John William Waterhouse. A product of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood movement, the enigmatically-named painting actually refers to Lancelot. One wouldn't be mislaid to view it as being imbued with Dante Gabriel Rossetti's influence and essence, with the classical Greek elegance and mysticism carried by an abundance of detail and grace while maintaining an idea of distance, sultriness, mystery and imminence. From an interesting perspective, the artwork (produced is 1916) is chronologically at odds with the Pre-Raphaelite timeframe (second half of the 19th century), thus designating John William Waterhouse as a Modern Pre-Raphaelite. (2) 'Mariana' (1851), oil paint on mahogany by Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais. Picture via Tate Britain. We have a mystical 'Penelope' theme going on here too, in the form of the passage of time carried out gracefully through yearning and weariness. When it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851, the painting was accompanied by a few lines from Lord Tennyson's poem 'Mariana' (1830): She only said, 'My life is dreary,  He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!'.

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