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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Will you tell us about a work of art or literature with an interesting provenance?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17294points) March 7th, 2014

Tell us an interesting story behind a work of art or literature. Give links to pics if you like.

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

My favorite is the juxtaposition of the famous painting, The Fall of Icarus and W.H. Auden’s equally famousl poem about it, Musée des Beaux Arts.

The large canvas (29” x 44”), which Brueg(h)el may or may not have painted, is hanging in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Brussels.

William Carlos Williams also wrote a poem, a less interesting one, about the painting, called Landscaope with the Fall of Icarus

I return to this poem and this painting all the time.

gailcalled's avatar

edit: famous. I swear that this touchpad has a spiritus ex machina embedded in it

flutherother's avatar

This painting was inspired by Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’. The Lady of Shalott lives alone on an island upstream from King Arthur’s Camelot. Her business is to look at the world outside her castle window in a mirror, and to weave what she sees into a tapestry. She is forbidden to look at the outside world directly. The farmers who live near her island hear her singing and know who she is, but never see her.

“I am half sick of shadows,said
The Lady of Shalott.”
From the poem

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s the better-known (called “iconic” by some) painting of The Lady Of Shallot BY John Williams Waterson. Her woven tapestry is draped over the side of the boat.

“Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@gailcalled You were first here! What a delightful pounce you have, Ms. Gail. Did you get that from Milo? My father loved both Brueghels and those busy, licentious peasants. I haven’t looked at their work in many, many years. Thank you for reminding me, my friend.

@flutherother, thank you, too, for coupling the painting and the poem. A beauty so wasted in the dark castle. Tennyson is great, isn’t he? Love the driving meter:

“Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

I’m sure that was the equivalent of Rock&Roll in his time.

gailcalled's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus. See PM.

The meter of The Lady of Shalott with its trochees rather than the more subtle iambs, is indeed “in-your-face.”

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