Neoclassicism In The Lady Of Shalott

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The painting Lady of Shalott accurately portrays the relationship between John William Waterhouse and Neoclassicism as well as how his art diverges from the prominent styles of artists in his time. The effects of his childhood and many other factors created the different elements of Waterhouse’s style. The Lady of Shalott (1888) was inspired by a poem of the same name written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. In the painting, the Lady of Shalott decided to leave her island to find her knight Sir Lancelot. She is no more than a young girl, dressed in white, looking out into the distance. The painful look on her face shows that the Lady knows she is reaching her end. As she lets go of the chains attaching her to the tower, her fate is set in stone. Unlike…show more content…
For example, art pieces such as The Gleaner by Jean-Francois Millet expressed the artist personal political views about England’s government system in the late 1800s. However, Waterhouse was not like these other artists. In his paintings, the female figure always played an essential part. This was mainly caused by a traumatic event Waterhouse went through during his childhood. Not long after he and his family moved back to England, Waterhouse’s mother died from Tuberculosis in 1857 leaving him with his father. He was only eight at the time, and an event like the loss of a mother left a significant impact on the young boy. The effect of the incident can be seen through many of his paintings. Waterhouse’s artworks were known to have “legendary female characters in fairyland settings, eyes full of melancholy and tragic sense”. Similar to many of his other works, The Lady of Shalott focuses on the story of a beautiful and tragic woman. When the artistic style of Waterhouse is compared to other artists in his time, we can undoubtedly distinguish the difference between them. The Lady of Shalott is a clear demonstration of how Waterhouse’s paintings fall under the category of Pre-Raphaelite
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