The plants which are depicted in the painting, have (most of them) a heavily symbolic meaning, the plants were painted in botanical accuracy and detail.
“The roses near Ophelia’s cheek and dress, and the field rose on the bank, may allude to her brother Laertes calling her ‘rose of May’. The willow, nettle and daisy are associated with forsaken love, pain, and innocence. Pansies refer to love in vain. Violets, which Ophelia wears in a chain around her neck, stand for faithfulness, chastity or death of the young, any of which meanings could apply here. The poppy signifies death. Forget-me-nots float in the water.” (tate britain)
This specific painting fascinated me since my early childhood, especially the colours. the intense use of green and the blues caught my intention, I read and informed myself about the background story found myself on the and on the road as a Hamlet fan. The story of the drowning Ophelia was then and now an immense inspiration for me. How she falls into the river while picking flowers, the turn of something so pretty, wonderful into something which ends in a disaster into a catastrophe.
Angry with her beloved ones she decides rather to die than to survive. For me it was the first suicide I hear or read about it and I remember that I thought that this is at least a beautiful place to die in. Surrounded by nature and flowing water.
Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829–1896, Ophelia, 1851–2, Oil paint on canvas, 762 x 1118 mm, Tate, Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
The Lady of Shalott
Another Painting that cought my intention is ‘The Lady of Shalott’, and again it was the backdrop which was particuar interseting for me. The depicted nature, which was painted so perfectly in detail, as a photograph. The green the water, it seems to give a cirtain quality of peace, of sielence but not stagantion, a promise of change and growth – of beginning and end.
The Paining illustates a part of a poem by Tennson, about a woman lining near Camelot, which is cursed to live in a tower. She sits in this boat probably on her last jurney, her jurney into death.
“With her right hand she lets go of the chain mooring the boat. Her mouth is slightly open, as she sings ‘her last song’. She stares at a crucifix lying in front of her. Beside it are three candles, often used to symbolise life. Two have blown out. This suggests her life will end soon, as she floats down the river.” (Tate)
And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
by Alfred Tennyson
Green is the color of nature, fertility, life.Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.