Love Bleeds, Love Dies - Tiana Rodrigues

In this gallery we will review art that depicts tragic love stories.  Some of the stories depicted may have a happy ending, but carry a tragic element. The gallery will contain works from different mediums and will show how things like color, line work, and movement help to set the tone in the image.

This piece depicts the demise of Samson by his lover Delilah. In the bible the story is told that Samson possess un-natural strength but should his hair become compromised he would lose his strength. Delilah is visited by Philistine rulers who each offer her large sums of money to find Samson’s weakness. After revealing the secrete to Delilah she has someone come to shave Samson’s head while he sleeps. In this painting the artist keeps the background dark, making the foreground the focal point. We see light only on Sampson as he is captured and on Delilah who looks on with enjoyment. The movement in the image is seen as Sampson struggles against those trying to capture him. The straight lines of what appear to be ropes give the visual of Sampson pulling against them, making them ridged. Delilah appears to be shifting away from him but also to be giving orders on how to restrain him. The use of dark colors sets the tone for the image, giving it the feeling of a love turned tragic. Sampson looks back at his lover, realizing what she has done.
This piece is based on a character from the story of Pompeii, Nydia. Nydia is a blind slave girl who falls in love with her owner Glaucous. Nydia doesn't realize that Glaucous is hopelessly in love with another woman. When Mount Vesuvius erupts Nydia leads Glaucous and his lover to the harbor where they all find safety. Upon realizing that Glaucous loves another, she throws herself into the sea. This sculpture captures a moment where Nydia has become separated from Glaucous and she calls out to him. The movement of her dress shows the distress the girl feels at being separated and her quick movements to find her lover. The artists has also given Nydia a look of despair which further adds to her distress at being separated from her lover.
The tragic story of Echo and narcissus is one of my favorite stories. Echo is cursed by Juno after Echo delayed Juno in finding her husband; the delay giving Juno’s husband time to flee or be caught among the nymphs. Juno curses Echo to only be able to repeat the last words she hears. When Echo falls in love with Narcissus she follows him helplessly, waiting for him to speak. One day he becomes separated from his companions and calls out “Who’s here?” to which Echo replies. After a brief exchange Narcissus calls out, “Let us join one another.” Overcome with joy Echo runs to him and throws her arms around him but Narcissus rejects her. He cries out, “Hands off! I would rather Die than you should have me!” Echo, being crushed, replies, “Have me”. She spends her life love Narcissus until she wasted away to nothing but her voice. In this image we see Echo waiting by the pool staring at her love who is content to stare only at himself. The use of color leads the viewer to believe the scene is happy and full of life. The use of bright red and pink gives the image a subtle softness but the lines in Echo’s face clearly show her longing to be loved by Narcissus. We can also see in the water’s reflection that Narcissus stares at himself in wonder. The artists uses the space between the two subjects to show the rejection by Narcissus but paints Echo leaning towards him.
The story of Psyche and Cupid is a tragic loves tory turned happy ending! It is said that 3 daughters were born with overwhelming beauty, one of them being Psyche. It is said that admirers neglected proper worship of the Goddess Venus and instead paid worship to Psyche. Venus being offended sends Cupid to take out her revenge; However, Cupid scratches himself with his own dart and falls in love with Psyche. When Venus learns of the affair between Cupid and Psyche she separates them, sending Psyche on three impossible tasks to earn her favor. After completing the three tasks Cupid and Psyche receive Jupiter’s blessing to marry and Psyche is given Ambrosia so that she can become immortal. In this sculpture we see Psyche (who is depicted as a nymph rather than human) being comforted by Pan. The artist has depicted Psyche as being sadden by the separation of her lover. Her face is turned down and a hand touching her cheek as if she were crying. She appears to be childlike where Pan is depicted as being a father like figure to her. The overall relaxed feeling the viewer feels when seeing Pan in a relaxed position leads us to believe that there is hope after all. It even seems that Pan himself is telling her to have faith. Psyches stiff posture gives the feeling of despair and shows that she doesn’t believe what he is saying. She appears to be too overcome by sadness at her current situation.
This image depicts the story of Hero and Laender. Hero devoted her life to serving Aphrodite and was forced to keep her lover Laender a secret. Each night Laender would swim across to Hero, using a light in her window to guide him. One night, a storm puts out the light causing Laender to loose his way and drown. The following morning Hero finds Laender’s body washed ashore. Overcome with grief she throws herself from her tower into the sea. In the image the use of light draws the eye to the center where we see Hero cradling the body of her lover Laender. The use of color here is intriguing as the artist chose to paint Laender as being a grayish green color which gives the idea of him being dead, while the other figures are painted a pale, off white color. The use of the bright colors surrounded by dark colors makes this the focal point. We also see off to the right Hero as she falls to her death. The use of dark color in between the two scenes gives a separation to the story. We see the death of her lover in the foreground followed by her death in the background; giving a sort of cause and effect to the painting.
The story of St. Iria is very interesting as she never actually fell in love with anyone. It is believed that Iria betrothed herself to God and only left her home to attend mass. During one of these outings she is spotted by a man named Britald who falls in love with her. He offers to marry her and is quickly rejected by Iria who explains she has taken vows of chastity and wanted to become a nun. Meanwhile, another rejected man, Remigius, begins to spread rumors that Iria is pregnant. Britald growing angry hires a soldier who stabs Ira on her way home from church and throws her body into the river. In this image we see the soldier lifting the body of Ira in preparation to throw her in the river. The use of dark and light colors gives visual to good and evil. Ira is painted in all white, giving her the appearance of innocence and purity, while the soldier is painted in dark and muted colors. The use of these dark and muted colors shows his unimportance in the image and contrasts him as the evil in the image. The use of dark colors surrounding them helps to contrast against Ira’s dress, giving a certain light to the image. Almost as if a spot light as been placed on Ira.
Everyone knows the story of the Knights of the Round Table but few know the tragic love story of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. The two tried to keep their love for each other hidden from the king but it was ultimately found out and lead to the destruction of the Round Table. There are several different depictions of how their story goes but all center around a general theme. Other knights began to grow suspicious of the affair and the lovers agree that it must end. The two part their ways, Lancelot living out his life as a hermit and Guinevere as a nun at Amesbury. This image was published with a collection of poems about the round table and depicts the lover’s final embrace. The artist took great care in finding costumes that resembled what would be worn by the characters in the story. The actors have done a wonderful job in showing the tragedy they face in being separated, never to see each other again. Their position shows Guinevere’s need to be held by Lancelot, leaning into him and closing her eyes as if putting the feeling to memory. Lancelot leans into Guinevere, embracing her as if to comfort her and assure her that even though they will be separated he will love her.
Dyce acknowledged this as one of the finest paintings he produced in Edinburgh. Its subject was inspired by the ill-fated lovers described by Dante in his epic poem 'The Inferno'. Francesca, married to an elderly and deformed husband Giancotto, read to his younger brother Paolo and they fell in love. Giancotto surprised the lovers and murdered them. He was originally included in Dyce's composition. A hint of the tragic outcome is still suggested dramatically by the presence of Giancotto's disembodied hand at the left, a fortuitous result of the canvas trimmed to remove damage in 1882.
This image is a result of a tragic and tangled love story featuring Hippolytos and his step mother Phaidra. Phaidra falls in love with Hippolytos but he rejects her. She is angered by the rejection and leaves a note accusing Hippolytos of rape and commits suicide. Hippolytos’s father is enraged by the idea that his son could do this and he prays to the God’s for Hippolytos to be destroyed. The prayer is heard and while out a sea monster frightens the horses pulling Hippolytos’s chariot causing him to lose control. He is then dragged to his death. This work is striking and made even more dramatic by the use of black and white. The images relies on strong line work to tell the story. On the left we see the great sea monster rising out of the sea foam to frighten the horses. The use of black and gray keep this portion the background while the use of pale gray and white draw the attention to the falling Hippolytos. His eyes and face are frozen in fear as he falls over the chariot towards the ground. The artist also uses a mix of stiff rigid lines and softer flowing lines to show movement. We see softer flowing lines in Hippolytos’s clothing as it billows behind him and in the reins for the horses as they break free of the chariot. This combination adds to the dramatic scene.
The tragic love story of Adonis is one that is found in both Roman and Greek Mythology. Both stories follow the same idea but in Roman Mythology It becomes Venus and Adonis. The story goes that Venus falls in love with Adonis but the God of War becomes jealous. Venus begs Adonis to gives up the dangerous sport of hunting because she could not stand to lose him. Adonis refuses to give up the activity he loves so much and goes anywhere. During an outing he is killed by a wild boar that is actually the God of War. In this painting Venus mourns the loss of her lover Adonis. In this painting the use of color doesn’t play a part in the feeling of the image but the the line work is what gives the tone of sadness. We see Adonis’s body splayed in front of Venus, his arms falling limp above his head, and his face turned limply to the side. Venus herself looks down over him, gently cradling his head and stroking his face. The soft lines in her face give way to the sadness and love she feels for the man in front of her. On the right side of the image the brush strokes give the feeling of rain blowing in on Venus and Adonis. The added effect of rain also helps to set the tone of sadness in the image.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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