OIL PAINTING: La Belle Dame Sans Merci [The Beautiful Lady Without Pity]
This painting by Sir Frank Dicksee was inspired by Keats' poem. How does the painting depict the contrasts evident in Keats' text regarding the delights and dangers of love? La Belle Dame Sans Merci [The Beautiful Lady Without Pity] depicts a moment of tremendous beauty and ecstasy, but how does it likewise imply the threat to the knight offered by his lady love?
This 1926 painting in the PreRaphaelite style takes a less subtle view of the results of the knight's love affair than does Dicksee's painting but still contains ambiguities. Note the knight lying at the lady's feet--is he dead or asleep? (Remember the knight in the poem describes having a "dream"). Is the knight of Keats' poem a wandering ghost or a forlorn lover? How does the painting depict the "beautiful lady without pity"? What features of the painting indicate that she may be a femme fatale?