Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Opening Iris...

Philip Hermogenes Calderon, "Broken Vows" (1857)
The title of this painting suggests that the woman has recently discovered that her lover, whose initials are carved in the fence, has been unfaithful. Further details, including the discarded necklace and dying flowers, indicate her unhappy situation. The ivy-covered wall may symbolise her previous belief that their love was everlasting. Disappointed love was a popular theme in Victorian painting, and viewers were expected to unravel the situation from the symbols and expressions of the characters.


FreeThinke said...

I want to know who the rascally-looking fellow just visible lurking behind he plain board fence is, and what he's supposed to represent?

FreeThinke said...

Victorian maidens always look so pale, sickly and despondent –– at least those in pre-Raphaelite art. Could this Forlorn Maiden be considered an example of the genre? It certainly looks that way.

Do you suppose young women of the era looked so depressed and enervated because they were required to wear tight corsets whenever they appeared outside the confines of their bedchambers?

More likely their pathetic pallor must have been induced by the prevailing ethos of the time which asserted the absurd notion that respectable, well-bred females were supposed to believe that only harlots and hoydens –– oose women of the streets –– lost souls all –– would dare to imagine it possible to take pleasure in sexual intercourse.

"Good" women were expect to submit to their husbands' carnal urges only for the purpose –– and high privilege –– of bearing children.

"Just lie still, dear, close your eyes, and think of England" was the standard advice mothers of the time are reported to have given their daughters when the time came to broach the dreadful subject of "marital duties."

Is it any wonder the poor girls looked sick, and is it any wonder their poor lovers were driven to take refuge in the arms of "loose women?"

Joe Conservative said...

The guy behind the fence is her former beau, "wooing" her rival....

I don't know where the gallery label gets off with "initials carved in the fence"...

FreeThinke said...

_______... NOTICE ... _______

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