Tag Archives: painting

Portraits: Margaery Tyrell

This painting could show Margaery at Highgarden or on one of her rides into the countryside around King’s Landing.  The young woman is pretty, with loose brown hair, as Margaery is described.  The flowers symbolize House Tyrell.  And the look on her face, even when viewed from the side, shows a certain understanding, or resolve, which characterizes Margaery perfectly.  For although the youngest Tyrell first appears to be nothing more than a pretty ingenue, we soon learn that she’s much more determined and cunning than she initially lets on.

Do you see Margaery below?

Windflowers (1903)
John William Waterhouse
English (born Rome 1849 – 1917 died London)
oil on canvas
Private Collection

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Portraits: Brienne of Tarth

Very few artworks of armored women who fit Brienne’s bill exist.  They’re all doe-eyed, wispy ingenues wearing a breastplate over a dress, or anime/video game-ish girls wearing…well, not too much armor at all.  But this painting by English painter Annie Swynnerton reminded me of Brienne.  The girl (Joan of Arc) isn’t particularly pretty.  She’s large and manly looking, with broad shoulders, a thick neck and a full face.  Her skin is ruddy and her hair does not look particularly luscious.  On a deeper level, I see Brienne in Joan’s solemn plea to all that is good and holy to help her complete her oath.  For Joan, that was delivering France from the English.  For Brienne, it’s delivering the Stark sisters from the Lannisters.

And the rainbow in the background?  Let us not forget Brienne got started as a knight in Renly Baratheon’s Rainbow Guard!

BRIENNE OF TARTH
Joan of Arc (exact date unknown)
Annie Louisa Swynnerton
English (born 1844 – 1933 died)
oil on canvas
Private Collection

Feel free to comment – do you see Brienne in this painting?  Or is it just another tribute to Joan of Arc?

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Portraits: Sansa Stark

The red hair, the wistful look, the ignored servant, the luxurious room.  The girl is clearly sad, but she is also still beautiful and elegant.  She clasps her hands delicately, and her skirt is still perfectly arranged.  She displays a sad longing but also still looks quite dreamy.  This is all very Sansa in The Red Keep for me.

SANSA STARK
The Pained Heart , a.k.a. Sigh No More, Ladies (1868)
Arthur Hughes
English (born 1832 – 1915 died)
oil on canvas
Private Collection

There’s not a lot about this painting on the Internet, so it was a bit more difficult to research.  But based on the “aka” title, I’m wondering if it relates to this poem, “Sigh No More, Ladies…” from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,
Or dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey, nonny, nonny.

It’s interesting, because I wanted to say that Sansa has been deceived, manipulated and defrauded by men (Joffrey, Littlefinger?), but when I think about who’s really at the root of her problems, I keep coming back to Cersei.

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Portraits: The Silent Sisters

The connection between the Sisters and this painting is more abstract than it is literal.  In fact, the painting is allegedly composed of seven different poses by the same young model, Sargent’s niece.  The cashmere shawl is perhaps a bit ornate for the Silent Sisters, especially considering their work.  But this painting has a certain mystical quality about it.  The composition reminds me of the classic pose of the Three Graces, but there are seven figures instead of three (fitting when you consider Westerosi religion).  The muted colors and hazy focus suggest a sense of quiet.  The figures may not match exactly to GRRM’s description of the Sisters, but in the painting I sense the same spirit I picked up on in the book.


Cashmere (1908)
John Singer Sargent
American (born Florence 1856 – 1925 died London)
oil on canvas
Bill Gates Collection

What do you think? Do you get a Silent Sisters vibe or do you just see girls in shawls?

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Portraits: Ser Loras Tyrell

I first saw this painting in the Orsay in Paris and was attracted to it out of my love of knights and fairies and fantasy.  At the time, I hadn’t yet read ASOIAF, but I recently looked through some old pictures and saw Loras immediately.  He even shares almost the same title with the painting!

The Knight of the Flowers (before 1894)
Georges Antoine Rochegrosse
French (born 1859 – 1938 died)
oil on canvas
Musée d’Orsay, Paris

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Portraits: Arya Stark

The long face and disheveled clothing says Arya, but it was the girl’s expression that really made me think of the younger Stark daughter.  She is sad, shocked and lost, but she is not weepy.  There’s a certain resoluteness behind her trauma.

Orphan Girl Seated in a Cemetery (1824)
Eugène Delacroix
French (born Charenton 1798 – 1863 died Paris)
oil on canvas
Musée Du Louvre, Paris

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Portraits: The Sailor’s Wife

The idea for this set of posts came to me a few days ago when I was in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I was waiting in line for a special exhibition and came across the painting below.  The woman’s forlorn look, the net and the sea in the background made me think of the Sailor’s Wife, a prostitute in the Happy Port of Braavos who makes all of her customers marry her before she beds them.  Her true love was allegedly lost at sea, but whether or not this is a literal or metaphorical explanation is still unclear (and there are in fact fan theories that it’s one of our well-loved characters).  Because I thought of her when I saw this painting, I wondered if I would be able to find ASOIAF characters in other works.  I’m going to post my findings here in my “Portraits” series.

Graziella (1878)
Jules-Joseph Lefebvre
French (born Tournan 1836 – 1912 died Paris)
oil on canvas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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