The Legend

Tristan and Isolde 24" by 30" Acrylic on canvas.

C 2008. The legend of Tristan and Isolde written around 1235 is one of the most influential medieval romances, which was about a love triangle between the hero, his uncle and his uncle's wife. Tristan, the heroic nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, is sent to Ireland to escort the Irish king's daughter, the beautiful Isolde, to Cornwall to become his uncle's bride. In most versions, it is during the return voyage that Tristan and Isolde accidentally consume a love potion (meant to ensure Isolde's happiness with Mark) together, and fall in love. Because Isolde's engagement to Mark cannot be broken, she marries the king despite her love for Tristan, and the two lovers spend the rest of their lives attempting to satisfy their desire for each other without revealing that desire to Mark and the Cornish court.

In my painting, which can be viewed upside down, the old trees on the left submerged in water provide the outline of the two lovers drinking the love potion. King Mark, who slightly resembles at tree, motions for them to stop. At the right is the ship with dark sails carrying Isolde to rescue the dying Tristan.

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