The Waterhouse Exhibit, Montreal

Mariana in the South 1897
Mariana from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a heroine a la the Lady of Shalott. She is imprisoned by her bridegroom, Angelo, because her dowry is lost at sea….for five years. Who thinks these plots up? Meanwhile she contemplates her youth and beauty going to waste unloved. Well, that’s depressing….In the end, she is wed to Angelo by means of a trick and of her own consent. She still loves him. (A woman who would consent to marry such a man is an idiot, but since Shakespeare’s play ends at that point, she is spared the discovery that the cure is worse than the disease.)

Ariadne 1898
Ariadne was the daughter of Minos, the King of Crete. She fell in love with the Athenian Theseus when he was brought, along six other youths and seven maidens, to be sacrificed to her monster brother, the Minotaur. She helped Theseus slay the Minotaur and find his way out of the Labryrinth (identifed as the palace of the Knossos in Crete) and sailed away with him. He abandoned her in Naxos in the scene above. She was, of course, stricken to find she’d chosen the wrong man, but her next lover was true to her, AND he was a god: Dionysus, the god of wine and wild things. His panthers are already surrounding her, anticipating the next chapter in her story.

A Mermaid 1900
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