Tuesday, January 1, 2013

click to enlarge

Ophelia, by British artist Sir John Everett Millais.

This oil-on-canvas painting depicts the character Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet singing whilst floating down the river before she drowns. This seen is described by Queen Gertrude in Act IV, Scene VII of the classic play:

Queen. There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them;
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb’ring to hang, an envious silver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.