A Beautiful Scene Which Didn’t Make Sense – Ophelia by Leopold Burthe

Leopold Burthe, Ophelia - 1851
Leopold Burthe, Ophelia – 1851

Trees, branches and flowers surround a lady half-immersed into the water. Present but helpless, nature witnesses the lady succumb to her own death. The drapes of her white dress are reminiscent of the life that once inhabited her pale body, a life that has now left. Torn by the idea of leaving a beautiful scene which didn’t make sense anymore, the lady gracefully hung onto to a branch.

She has now stepped into another world, and is confident her body, devoid of air and breath, will find ease in the layers of the earth, layers she has not been able to reach alive. She is an incandescent silhouette made of pure candor. Her vivacious spirit has left the scene, yet the essence of her aura remains. Just like the image mirrored in the water, it is soft yet terrifying. Just like the body floating above the water it is strong yet confused.

Her left hand holds a bouquet of fresh flowers close to her chest. Fabric has fallen over her shoulder, revealing her heart hidden by her breast. The sinuous shape of her leg and neck form a voluptuous line entering the water. This line is symbolic of her final moment, during which her body positioned to take its last breath.

Nature does not ask any questions, nor judge Man’s decisions. It sits quietly through their pain and offers an invaluable presence. It watches birds fly away, leaves flirt with the wind, flowers bloom as trees grow old, thunderstorms impose their severe voice, and mankind take their lives away.

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