August Moon and Romance

Meeting on the Turret Stairs

Tuned in love song: Dido, White Flag

August, the month of the lion, awakens sultry nights, a fierce summer moon, and a sense of romance.  In the distant past, romance lived through songs and tales of valiant knights and warriors and the women they loved.  I recently stumbled across a watercolor print by the Irish artist, Sir Frederic William Burton, entitled The Meeting on the Turret Stairs (1864) and featured here.  The theme for this painting comes from a medieval Danish ballad.  The song is the story of a young noble woman who falls in love with one of her personal guards, the Prince of Engelland, Hildebrand.  Hellelil’s father discovers their passion and orders her brothers to kill Hildebrand and a fight ensues.  Hildebrand kills her father and all but one brother before dying himself from his wounds.  Hellelil dies later.

Although a tragic story, Burton has chosen to depict the final meeting of Hildebrand and Hellelil.  The magnetic image of two lovers making their sad farewell on the turret stairs, their faces obscured and their one last tender touch, adds to the power and poignancy of this painting.

As the viewer, I am captivated.  Romance, be it tragic or joyous, is a principal aspect of our history and not to be diminished.  Sir Frederic William Burton’s interpretation of this medieval ballad stemmed from the breadth of romantic vision housed in his imagination and soul.  I am grateful that our world is filled with visionary artists that can spark in us the emotions of wonder, contemplation, and romance.

Do you have a favorite painting, sculpture, book or object that fascinates you?

Buon Compleanno, Soo and Cinzia

About cinzia8

Published writer and teacher.
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4 Responses to August Moon and Romance

  1. Susan says:

    I always thought August was the perfect time for romance. Too bad the lovers here didn’t get their happily ever after!


  2. Kula says:

    My favorite painting is by Picasso called “The Old Guitarist”. This painting is not a love story between a man and a woman, but I do believe it is a painting of love and music. He is poor and sickly and the only thing keeping him going is his guitar. I remember the first time I saw this painting. I was in the museum just walking around minding my business, but I came across this I stopped in my tracks…I just stared. It might not be a typical “romance” but I do feel it portrayed love.


  3. cinzia8 says:

    I agree,Kula. When art stops you in your “tracks” and grabs you, it’s spectacular. Also, it’s there for us to interpret.


  4. Janet Souter says:

    Beautiful story, Cindy. Reminds me of a DVD we watched over the weekend, called “The Duchess.” Also a tragic (and apparently true) love story in the late 18th century about Georgiana Spencer, a woman who grew up on Althorp, Princess Diana’s ancestral home.


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