Timeless poignant story, immortal poetry and painting themes

  The story of “Charlotte Girl” is a common theme in Western literature and art, especially in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The poems and paintings based on this theme are even more excellent, with different modalities.
  ”Charlotte Girl” is a small episode in the story of the medieval knight legend “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”: near the city of Camel, where King Arthur’s palace is located, there is a small island full of lilies called “Summer” Lot”. There is a beautiful maiden who is imprisoned in a tower on the island by a fairy, and almost no one knows her existence. The fairy who imprisoned her told her that there was a spell in King Arthur’s palace that would bring disaster on her, but she didn’t tell her what the spell was. Because of the curse, she couldn’t leave the room and couldn’t look directly out the window. There is a mirror hanging in front of her throughout the year, and she can only see the outside world through the reflection of the mirror. In that clear mirror, various images of the human world appeared. She sang songs while weaving the images she saw into the tapestry, and so on, day after day… Through the mirror, she saw rude peasants, village girls in red cloaks going to the market, a group of merry girls, The priest on horseback, the curly-haired shepherd or the little red-clothed squire with long hair, and the knights who saw the bridles… She was indifferent to these, but kept weaving the images she saw into the tapestry. superior. But when she saw a couple of newlyweds passing by, she said, “I’m getting a little tired of these images.”
  One day, by chance, the knight Lancelot, King Arthur’s finest knight, rode by under the castle window. At last, the Charlotte girl couldn’t help but glanced out the window: Lancelot rode on horseback in the middle of the wheat waves, his brass armor gleamed in the sun, he sang a happy song by the river, and rode his horse to the card. Mile City. Girl Charlotte left the loom and went out of the room. She saw the blooming lilies, she saw the helmets and feathers, she looked at the city of Kamele, the tapestry that had been woven before suddenly spread, the silk threads flew around, and the magic mirror shattered. “The curse is upon me,” she cried.
  The gloomy woods were blown by the gale, and the rain poured, and she found a small boat under the willows, and on the bow she carved her name – “Girl Charlotte”. The bleak river seemed to herald her tragic fate, she loosened the anchor chain, lay down, and the wide river rushed her into the distance. The snow-white dress fluttered in the wind, and just like that, she let the boat drift in the direction of Camel City. The people on the hills and fields heard her last song. It was a sad and sacred ode, and her voice gradually fell, until her blood slowly solidified, and her eyes were as silently dull as the night. She was washed ashore by the tide and died in her own song.
  The news spread quietly in the city of Camel, and knights, commoners, princes and nobles flocked to the dock. On the bow they read the name she had inscribed earlier. who is she? What’s going on here? In the bright palace nearby, the cheers died down, and people crossed their chests in fear, including all the knights. Except for Lancelot, who fell into contemplation, he said: “She has a lovely face, may God’s mercy be with her.”
  The story itself is very simple, hazy and mysterious and full of images common in the Middle Ages: a girl imprisoned on a high tower, a curse, a knight, love, death… Among them, the knight Lancelot, who is caught in a glimpse, is Europe. One of the Knights of the Round Table in the legend of King Arthur in the Middle Ages, considered by later generations to be the greatest and most trusted knight of King Arthur, who made outstanding contributions to King Arthur’s many victories, and was entrusted with the important task of protecting King Arthur’s queen. But because of the love that developed between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere – the pure and unblemished love between a knight and a noblewoman typical of the Middle Ages – he eventually turned against King Arthur, and when King Arthur was in danger, he He was able to abandon his previous hatred and come back to aid King Arthur, which is regarded as a model of chivalry. The heroine of the story, Charlotte girl, is a typical medieval woman in image. Women in the Middle Ages usually left people with the impression that they were helpless, panicked, waiting for rescue day after day. They generally possessed noble status and beautiful beauty, and at the same time had the characteristics of paleness, weakness and virginity… This is the tradition after archetype of passive female. Although medieval women were actually far more free and courageous than this, the portrayal of such images has the effect of regulating the behavior of contemporary women, in the words of Elizabeth Nelson, the Charlotte girl “perfectly represents the ideal woman of the Victorian era. the image of: pure, surrounded, spiritualized, mysterious and dedicated to their feminine mission”.
  What a girl pursues unswervingly until her death is a kind of “hopeless love”, and the act of pursuing it at the cost of her life, knowing that it is hopeless, is full of tragedy. The Victorian Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) narrated it in a eloquent manner with his flowery pen. The poem “Charlotte Girl” is one of the most moving poems in Tennyson’s main work “The King’s Narrative Poems”. It is said that in order to describe the story more vividly, the author revised the poem several times over ten years.
  Tennyson’s poems lit up the artistic inspiration of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, and where the Pre-Raphaelite influences reached, a large number of paintings with the theme of the Charlotte girl emerged, showing the artistic expression of this theme. All paintings have strong artistic tension. Pre-Raphaelite is an artistic school that emerged in England in the mid-19th century, and its main members include Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), William Holman Hunt, 1827-1910), John Everett Millais. These young painters respected the painting art and aesthetic orientation before Raphael’s time, and brought a great influence on British art in the 19th century.
  The Pre-Raphaelites have an artistic tradition of combining poetry and painting, and their paintings and literature are very closely related. Many of these painters also have poetry creations themselves, which can be called both poetry and painting. Both Rossetti and Hunter had illustrated Tennyson’s poem, but because of their too distinct personal style, the illustrations of these two painters were not appreciated and affirmed by Tennyson. Among them, Hunter, who is known as “the most loyal member of the Pre-Raphaelite school”, also has an oil painting with this theme. This painting was painted in 1886 and was not completed until 1905. Years of time and effort. Hunter’s version chooses the moment when the curse falls: the magic mirror shatters and the threads fly. Due to the perspective, the characters occupy most of the space of the picture, and the colors are extremely bright and bright, producing an unprecedented visual impact.
  This tragic love story soon became a favorite subject of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers. From the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, more than fifty works represented this theme. Most interested in this subject was the English painter John William Waterhouse (British, 1849-1917), who was influenced by both Pre-Raphaelite and Neoclassicism. Most of his works are based on myths, historical stories, and literary works. Waterhouse has three oil paintings with the theme of “Charlotte Girl” in his life. They select different moments in the story and have different styles and themes. In addition, British painters John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) and Arthur Hughes also had such works.
  Poetry can be narrating, lyrical, and telling the whole story, but as a visual art painting, it can only be frozen in a moment, intercepting a picture to express a certain moment in the story, choosing different moments, the effect is natural very different. As an important artistic genre in the mid-to-late 19th century, the Pre-Raphaelites were fond of all kinds of poignant love stories, such as Dante and Beatrice, Ophelia and, of course, “The Charlotte Girl”. Such women and their poignant stories are precisely what the Pre-Raphaelites were most willing to express. I have to say that what this story wants to express is the artistic pursuit of the Pre-Raphaelites – “The more machines you make, the more angels I will draw and use their wings to protect beauty” – that is a little tragic The spirit of the colors coincides: in the face of an era that is gradually beginning to be dominated by machines and materialism, it is neither acceptable nor power to change. For art, love and beauty, although hopeless, but still pursue, to death.
  Among the female images in many Western literary and artistic works, the Charlotte girl cannot be described as “famous”, because it is not difficult to see that “The Lady of Shalott” is not the name of the heroine. In the story, “Charlotte” Te” is a place name—a lonely island full of lilies. But it is such a short and slightly flimsy story about a woman who doesn’t even have a name that makes Tennyson’s beautiful poems, the poet laureate, and inspires pre-Raphaelite and later generations to be influenced by her. The artistic inspiration of the painters, solidified into the dazzling moments of the painters. In short, the theme of “Charlotte Girl” is definitely a mysterious and beautiful landscape in the British Victorian literature and art.