Godiol Humanities


The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833) , by Paul Delaroche | 攝于英國國家美術館

毫不誇張地講,在倫敦,我虛度的大半時光都花在這件名畫跟前。如果你碰巧也常去那裏,你也會經常遇到一個單薄而且渺小的身影,長時間佇立在Jane Grey面前,像擡頭仰望星空的孩子。

It is no exaggeration whatsoever to state that most of my time wandering about in London was spent in front of this piece of work. Should you frequent there too, you would probably come across a wasted Chinese who is standing before Lady Jane Grey as if a little child is pointing his forehead at a starry sky.

我記不得有多少次駐足在它面前,無數次為Jane Grey姣好至極的肉體而惋惜、悲嘆。她是被廢黜的女王,只做了九天英國女王,旋即被“血腥瑪麗”推翻,判處斬首。

Countless hours stopped before it. Untold thousands of laments and sighs for Lady Jane Grey, the deposed queen, a young girl at her best age, whose flesh was such a temptation to me that I literally fell for it hook, line and sinker. So was it for "Bloody Mary" who wanted her head to be plucked from that gorgeous flesh.


Even the likely slightly larger-than-life size is grand and splendid enough to shock the senses.


In 1833, when the French Romantic movement was gaining its own momentum and Notre-Dame de Paris was taking Paris by storm, Delaroche orchestrated so sophisticatedly a symphony in which life and death, glaring whiteness and decomposing darkness, splendour and desolation, are all interwoven in dramatic tension.


What a sly Delaroche, whose guileful concealment of everyone's eyes was attempting to evade our gaze. For such a long time I have been confused by his trick. Was it because the emotions to be portrayed were so sophisticated and complex that any slight fraction of misalignment might turn out to be an inexcusable blunder?


Jane is the only one facing her audience, but her eyes are so blindfolded that her emotions seem ambiguous, neither fearful nor desperate. Her delicate hands are outstretched, fragile and helpless, slightly frightened, either like a pair of panic-stricken doves, or like a human being walking in the dark with her hands outstretched, lest she should be scared by something unnamed.


This ingenious deceit circumvented the definitive nature of interpretation, focusing instead on the rich, gorgeous female flesh, which was soft and vulnerable before the axe which was gleaming with a bitter cold light.


It is generally accepted that such desolation and such misery were more or less sentimental. In my view, this is not necessarily the case though.

Delaroche也許確乎預示著英國前拉斐爾派的生命意識與時代精神,但《Jane Grey之處刑》實則超出了以上認識。藝術家蒙住的不僅是Jane Grey的眼睛,他也要觀衆閉上眼睛。

Delaroche might have indeed foreshadowed the consciousness of life and zeitgeist of the time prevailing in Pre-Raphaelites' England, but The Execution of Lady Jane Grey went beyond that. It is not just Jane Grey's eyes that the artist attempted to blindfold, he also wanted the viewers to shut their own.


It is therefore a particular piece of work in which you have to shut your own eyes to feel the plurality and ambiguity. The emotions herein are restrained, like the mouth of Laocoön that is about to be, but not yet wide open.


I stretched out my own hands while shutting my own eyes in a similar manner, having no idea when the axe would fall unexpectedly.


[Note] This article was not translated but rewritten.


Like my work?
Don't forget to support or like, so I know you are with me..

Want to read more ?

Login with one click and join the most diverse creator community.