"The Torch Doth Not Burn Tonight"
Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas (crystals and wax)
"For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a tragic story about revenge, love and death-a classic love story that’s been told and retold to every generation
since first hitting the stage in 1594.
In this painting I set the tone of the scene, Juliet’s final moments of life. We can begin with Juliet’s position in this painting-here she unknowingly reads the storybook “Romeo and Juliet "and learns of her fate and with this she resolves to take her own life “Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger, This is thy sheath. There rust and let me die.”
The book -a symbol of her reality was added reinforcing that this story is her story and Juliet continues to read discovering her tragic destiny. She shows the beginnings of increasing self-possession and confidence that ultimately lead her to seek her own fate rather than a destiny imposed upon her by her parents or what seems to be. Moving along the painting you can find other symbols representing the tragic aftermath of Juliet’s dying moment. The withered roses left on the side were once buoyant in vibrant colour and unconscious love, are now left on the ground lifeless-a sign of mourning. Juliet compared Romeo to a rose and that if a rose were given another name; it would still be a rose in its essence. Candles were added to represent energy and light but not for long. These are the same candles that symbolized elemental magic-a source of creation and the burnt out candles now show that Juliet has passed on to the spirit realm. A cross bar was placed next to Juliet, showing her character as having a life of her own just as Shakespeare had intended. In this painting Juliet is portrayed as Shakespeare’s marionette, she’s become a visual metaphor for his ideas and she exists as an independent soul. Shakespeare never sidelined his female characters even in a time when women were not allowed to perform on stage.
Romeo and Juliet a universal piece of work-his exploration of the human condition makes his works timeless and I’ve added a time machine to the painting to symbolize this matter. This machine is a hypothetical symbolic device permitting Shakespeare’s characters and stories to travel into the future.