The painting is based on an episode from the tragedy of William Shakespeare Hamlet. Eugene Delacroix has always been interested in the secrets of the soul. Portraying Ophelia, in a state of deliberation, he tries to comprehend the human essence. Like many romantics, Delacroix believed that it was precisely in a state of madness or near-death torment that the deepest feelings of man come to the surface.
It is impossible not to note the originality and special energy of the art world of the picture. The landscape is dominated by blue and green. But thanks to the intricacies of their shades, Delacroix's work does not look gloomy. On the contrary, it turns out to be embossed and dynamic. The outlines of the trees, the exact image of each leaf, the calm waves running along the surface of the water give the picture an extraordinary vivacity. It seems a little more - and you can hear a splash of water and a song of crickets. Nature is calm. Silence and peace reigns around.
There is no reassurance only in the soul of Ophelia. Desperation and complete hopelessness are read in her gaze. The feeling of indescribable longing is reflected in the unnatural pose of the heroine. The artist seemed to have caught the moment of the fall of Ophelia, and now, thanks to the skill of the artist, she reclines in cool waters. Another moment - and the heroine will release from the hands a twig of a tree, symbolizing her life. We see a woman a second before her obedience to the ancient elements. And therein lies the dramatic tension of the work. It is noteworthy that the body of Ophelia and the trunk of a nearby tree are as if illuminated by moonlight. The heroine’s soul is like a light, ready to go out and become part of a dark night.
The festival of beauty, grandeur and immortality of nature resonates with Ophelia’s state of mind and only enhances the tragedy of the situation. Delacroix shows how lonely and fleeting human life is.
Benvenuto Cellini Perseus