February 24, 2013 by mamie
Completed Date: 2/12/13
Description: For my fourth concentration piece in AP Art, I chose to study the well-known ballet Swan Lake. With gorgeous music by Tchaikovsky and a beautiful story about love, deceit, and betrayal, this ballet is the one many people think of, especially after the recent movie Black Swan with Natalie Portman.
Swan Lake is all about a prince who falls in love with an enchanted maiden who is forced to live as a swan for the rest of her life because of a treacherous spell cast by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. As soon as Von Rothbart notices that the spell is about to be broken by the prince’s declaration of love for Odette (the swan), he breaks them apart and tricks Prince Siegfried into declaring love for Von Rothbart’s daughter, Odile, the black swan. Once the prince realizes his mistake, he flees back to the lake in the woods and jumps off a cliff with Odette, so they can be together eternally in death. (Depressing- I know…) What makes the ballet so wonderful to watch, though, is how meaningful the story, the dancing, and the music are together, all at once.
Here, in my piece of artwork, I tried to capture the jealousy and hate of Odile (the black swan) in contrast to the delicacy and sorrow of Odette (the white swan). They are both suspended on the enchanted lake to show how spellbound and birdlike they both are. In the distance, the castle represents the prince and his life so far away from his love and also how out of control he is from the disastrous turn of events in his life. The forest and sky in the background are meant to be more designlike than realistic to play off of the scenery that lies behind the dancers in the real ballet. Simple and geometric, the bushes are composed of a basic value scale and lie close together (with little else in between) to represent the mystery of the forest. The vertical strokes of blues in the sky symbolize the despair of the swan maidens and their tears that are said to have made the lonely lake. Altogether, the painting could also represent the battle within all of us of good versus evil (just like Natalie Portman’s grotesque personality struggle in the Black Swan movie)…