Trivium Art HistoryEvelyn De Morgan

The Prisoner

The Prisoner, 1907 — Evelyn De Morgan

The Prisoner is a Pre Raphaelite, Oil on Canvas Painting created by Evelyn De Morgan in 1907. It lives at the De Morgan Foundation in England. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Allegory. Source

A lady sits in her prison, yearning for the freedom and sunlight beyond the prison window. The peacock feather decoration on her precious blue dress is a symbol of immortality. Her isolation is expressed on one side by the heavy iron bars, and on the other by her chained wrists. On one wrist she wears a metal shackle, from which hang the links of a chain. The other end of the chain merges into a golden bracelet. This is an allegory of the Soul, imprisoned in its mortal shell of the body, awaiting the release of death, to enable it to move to the light and immortality. This echoes the painter’s Spiritualist belief that the body is merely an earthly shell, an encumbrance, which the spirit longs to cast off in death, to move into the sun of the spirit-spheres. A similar idea is expressed in The Soul’s Prison House.

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