02 February 2010

Love and Loss: The Romance of Doomed Love

The month of February is associated with love. The most memorable lovers are tragic. William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet has been adapted to many art forms; stage, opera, musical and film. Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of the 16th story depicted the two teenage actors in a visually lush world that reflected the Italian director’s early art and architecture studies. The theme of doomed love can also be found in the medieval story of Tristan and Isolde. Originating from the Celts it became a popular subject of Arthurian Literature such as the English writer Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur (1470). The tragic pair is shown drinking the love potion in Pre-Raphaelite John William Waterhouse’s 1916 painting. São Miguel Island in the Azores has the legend of the Green and Blue Lagoons of Sete Cidades. In ancient times a king separated his blue-eyed daughter from the green-eyed shepherd she loved. The tears they cried created two small lakes in the center of a caldera. One lake is the color of the sky, the blue of the Princess’ eyes and the other is the color of the land, the color of the shepherd’s eyes.


  1. I had never read about Tristana and Isolde and the green and blue lagoons. How fascinating. As for Zeffirelli's 68' version of Romeo & Juliet, it seems like yesterday when I watched that movie in our small town theater as a young girl. Olivia Hussey & Leonard Whiting were mesmerizing through the eyes of a pre-teen. Hope your Sunday is a lovely one ~ deb

  2. Thank you Deb,

    Tristan and Isolde were a precursor to the Guinevere and Lancelot legend. I was also mesmerized by Hussey and Whiting at a young age and have never forgotten the image. Have a good Monday.

    Best regards,


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