THE Allegory of the DARK LADY

  • Painting: oil on canvas
  • Size: approx. 25Hx45Wx2 inches

Rereading Nicholl's The Lodger Shakespeare, I was reminded of the passage in sonnet 130, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun/Coral is far more red than her lips' red/If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun," and the thematically related quote from Measure, "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall." Nobody has been able to find out definitively who the dark lady was, who Shakespeare was writing about, but the prevalence of the alluring figure persists. The rising by "sin," the coral, the red, the dun (sumptuous tawny skin), She is a timeless counterpart. "And whether that my angel be turned fiend/Suspect I may, yet not directly tell/But being both from me, both to each friend,/I guess an angel in another's hell" (sonnet 144).

Allegory of the Dark Lady
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