March 19, 2013 by mamie
Description: This painting is the fifth piece in my series for AP Art (halfway there!). It shows my favorite ballet: La Bayadère, a ballet from which I performed excerpts a few years ago in my studio’s spring recital. The beautiful music by Minkus always draws me in, and the story, tragic and exotic, never fails to leave me in a dreamy state (sigh…).
Titled “The Temple Dancer” in English, the ballet tells the story of an Indian dancer, Nikiya, who falls in love with a noble warrior, Solor, who gives her his eternal love in return. Unfortunately, Solor must marry the Rajah’s daughter, though, and when the Rajah finds out about Solor and Nikiya’s secret love, he kills Nikiya with a snake hidden in a basket of flowers. Later, Solor finds out about his true love’s death and is so depressed that he decides to smoke opium, which brings multiple visions of Nikiya to him in his sleep. During his hazy hallucination, Solor and all of the Nikiyas meet in “the Kingdom of Shades.” When the opium wears off, Solor ends up marrying his fiancé, but the gods express their powerful anger toward the ill-destined couple by destroying the temple of the wedding and killing all the people inside. Thus, as in Swan Lake and many other tragic ballets, the two lovers are joined in death.
In my painting, I tried to capture Solor’s infatuation with Nikiya. Bright in fuchsia, Nikiya stands out to show how her beauty draws people in, and her arms float in a snake-like shape to allude to the mysterious and odd cause of her death. Solor clasps Nikiya in a passionate embrace of yearning because he knows that she has escaped from his world. In the background, hallucinations melt into the distance to represent his desolation and despair.
***Also, just as a side note (with a happier tone), I wanted to share that this Friday, I find out whether or not I was accepted to the summer Governor’s Honor Program that I’ve mentioned before. My interview did not go quite as well as I had wished, but I’m still hoping for the best. I will definitely share my results as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement! I appreciate it! 🙂