The Lady of Shallot: Tennyson’s warning


In Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot, he gave a warning to artists to not become so entrenched in trying to replicate the life they observe that they forget to live it. This particular painting, to me, captures the essence of recognizing the fact that the Lady spent her years longing for love, a life of her own away from the the tower and the mirror from which she draws her images to weave. The lighting on her face as she stares into the twilight (the end of her own life) is one that seems to scream “what if?”.

The boat is in slightly choppy water, yet her hand dangles in it. To me, that’s barely touching life, but not being fully immersed in it which is what the Lady of Shallot did. One can look at this painting and recognize that THEY do not want to be drifting toward Camelot, alone in a boat with only a tapestry woven of observation instead of experience.



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