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A Trapped Lady

By Natasha Bozorgi

Trapped lady

This piece is based on the poem “The Lady of Shalott” by Lord Alfred Tennyson. I chose it because I find it to be an interesting poem that has been reinterpreted many times by artists. I used a color print of John William Waterhouse’s oil on canvas Lady of Shalott (study).  I chose the study because I find it to be a very raw image of The Lady, and she is not in the virginal white dress, which in my piece has meaning as well. I included many things in the piece, and much like the Pre-Raphaelites it is all for a purpose. I used watercolors to signify the watery grave that The Lady is consigned to by the end of the poem. I have also painted in a single tree with a single apple behind The Lady to represent the Garden of Eden and man’s fall from grace as a result of Eve. I find it an interesting idea incorporated into a few paintings of The Lady, and one that casts judgment on The Lady herself for glancing out at Lancelot. This is something I chose to omit; I do not include Lancelot or the shining towers of Camelot because I do not believe the poem is about that. The central focus of my piece is to solely be The Lady of Shalott and her accusatory glare at the viewer. I have entwined her in the words of the poem to show that she is trapped not only by the web of her weaving, but also by the words of the poetry itself and by the artist’s  and viewers’ interpretations. She has been ensnared and cannot choose a life of her own, and I think this is an important aspect of the poetry, as she has no choice in the matter, and though she glances at Lancelot’s shining armor, it is because he is flashy, whereas she is not. She is not a version of Eve causing the downfall of man, but rather a figure whose downfall has been brought about by man. The poet, the artist, and the viewer all ensnare her and do not allow for an escape, but mirror the blame that Eve had once taken upon herself.