Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites The long Engagement 1853-59

Arthur Hughes 1832-1915

This painting actually is a remake. It originally was made to be an illustration for Shakespeare's play As you like it depicting Orlando in the Forest of Arden. It was rejected by the Royal Academy which led Hughes to paint Orlando out. He did keep the background but began his work on adding the lovers.

The lovers standing in the rejected forest, contemplating the financial obstacles that are preventing their wedding. The man is wearing clergy's mans clothes which lead him to look like he is humiliated in his inability to provide for a wife. To the point where he can not face her and his inabilities. She seems ever hopeful rallying his spirit with her devotion and love. Even her dog wants to love him too.

Her name is Amy and it is carved into the tree trunk but it has been there so long that the ivy has begun to cover it. Moss and Lichen are gradually growing up the tree suggesting the frailty and inevitability of time. The man stands in the shadow, his fiancee stands in the light with bright clothes and behind her flowers bloom symbolizing hope and new or renewed life.

The graphic of this does not do it justice. It actually is a very vibrant piece and has much more detail than shown here. This was the only image of it I could find and it took me some time just to find this one. The first time I saw this I was awh struck by the fiancee, Amy. I have much empathy for Amy in her hopeful love. I have seen that look before and not just in my life but the lives of others.


  1. Even without the visible details that you mention, it is still very beautiful. I find it captures the essence pergectly. I love this series Lizzy:) Thanks!

  2. I love the series too this one though I had not seen before. Once I saw it I could not stop thinking about her "longing" looks. Poor girl seems like she is setting herself up for a heartbreak.


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