Tristan and Yseult – A Legend of Celtic Origin – Art Project

So I had to come up with an idea for my next artwork project and with my goal of interpreting and bringing back to life British history, myths, legends and folklore, I have decided to work with a popular medieval romance tale that stems from Celtic legend; the story of ²Tristan and Yseult.

 There are numerous versions of this tale, but all of them contain prominent features and I will most probably play on the different aspects of each telling that appeal to me the most. As a base idea to work from I might even write up a short version of the story combining the various aspects and suiting to my own interpretation, thus making me able to create more works from this further down the line, that’s not presently set in stone though I’ll have to think about that¹.

With that in mind I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of the legend just yet although I have linked to the Britannica version of the tale.

As promised before, I will use the series of posts and updates on this project to show my preliminary studies, sketches and ideas, as well as a bit of prose or poetry that I intend to write for the particular scene that I will show in my finished painting. I have chosen the scene that I want to capture and have begun sketches, mainly to work out composition and background scenery, I’m also implementing a fair few symbolic features as well so I’ll have to hit the books and see what I come up with; some symbols I am certain of and relate to the story itself and therefore will definitely be added.

I’ll leave that there for now and my next post will contain my preparatory work that I’ve create up until that point, which will most probably be next Wednesday, when my posting schedule is due, this post is more of a taster for what’s to come and to give awareness of the project I am currently pursuing now that I’ve set my heart upon it.

¹More of a note to self than a definitive idea

²Link to the Britannica version of the legend Tristan and Yseult 

JG

Hadleigh Castle

John Constable - Hadleigh Castle, the Mouth of the Thames, after a Stormy Night - 1829 - Oil on Canvas (164.5 x 121.9cm)
John Constable – Hadleigh Castle, the Mouth of the Thames, after a Stormy Night – 1829 – Oil on Canvas (164.5 x 121.9cm)

I decided to finally make a post that is simply dedicated to a painting, now that I’m starting to get the hang of blogging. The painting chosen is John Constable’s Hadleigh Castle.

Brief History

The precise date of the build is unknown, but it is known that it was built sometime after 1215 by Hubert de Burgh. Being situated on the mouth of the Thames it worked well for defensive means, against any invaders using the Thames; and also as a private royal residence that was close to London.

My Views

This particular painting by the great John Constable, is one of my favorite pieces of art for a variety of reasons. Firstly is probably the love that I hold of castles, the fact that even when in dis-repair and ruinous I can still feel the presence of power they once held in times long past. In my opinion, these colossal, stone structures dwarf even the highest of skyscrapers in today’s age.

Another reason for my love of this artwork has to be the recognition of the scene, as I pass this castle every time I get on the train. An amazing factor about the scenery itself is that it hasn’t really changed since 1829 when Constable captured its beauty on a canvas.

I hadn’t been aware of this painting’s existence until fairly recently, when I stumbled upon it whilst researching Colchester Castle for a college project that I’ve been working on.  In respect of that, I’m glad I did find it and therefore came to write a short post about it.

Constable has depicted this scene immaculately and without a single flaw, every part of detail in this work screams perfection in such a way that it’s impossible to ignore.

I particularly like the farmer in the scene as well, just going about his daily business, unperturbed by the remains of a once great fortress, as though it is just as much a natural part of the landscape as the river and hills. The land is still home to cattle and farmers to this day; and they still share the same views of their surroundings as the farmer shown in the painting did, almost two hundred years before.

The sky, being still heavy and quite darkened after the storm, sets the castle in an ominous appearance, thus lending it an even more powerful stance in comparison to it’s neutral surroundings.

It’s just a shame that this once great abode was built on subsiding ground, leaving it in ruins as years have passed, but with the addition of imagination to the remains, it doesn’t take long to feel and become part of this castle when it was in it’s prime.

JG