Watch the short clip below:

What you just watched is an example of “close reading”. You are expected to perfect this skill with all the texts we encounter in class.

Before we tackle the written word, however, we will practice with a visual medium.

Study the following portrait for a minute. (Time yourself; don’t cheat!)

Hugues Merle (French, 1823-1881) Romeo & Juliet (1879) Oil on canvas. 67 X 51 in.

Hugues Merle (French, 1823-1881) Romeo & Juliet (1879) Oil on canvas. 67 X 51 in.

Now respond to the following prompt: What is the artist trying to say about the subject? Use examples from the painting to support your thoughts. Try to be precise and thoughtful in the same manner Marsha Hill was with her piece of art.



27 thoughts on “2015 BLOG ASSIGNMENT #13

  1. When studying the oil painting, Romeo and Juliet, by Hugues Merle, I believe it is a boy (Romeo), trying to convince a girl (Juliet) to do something. However, due to the fact that there are no words on the painting I can not tell what it is being said. The setting that these two are in appears to be a church. I believe the two lovers are in a church because Juliet is holding a book that appears to be the Bible. Also, another major hint to the setting are the stain glass windows and pews. I gathered that these two come from a background of wealth, due to their clothing. Juliet’s long gown looks as though it’s made with expensive satin fabric and not just rags. As for Romeo his shirt is nicely made and has ruffles, which in movies commonly represents wealth. This is all I could really gather during the one minute given to study the painting.

  2. After looking at the picture, I would say that Romeo and Juliet are in a church because of the pews they are sitting on and stained glass window in the back. They are both wearing nice, classy clothes, so you can infer that they are from families of high class. It also looks like Julia is holding a book that is rather dear to her, it might be a Bible or journal/diary, but I lean towards a bible. It also, to me, looks like the two are having a rather serious and personal conversation that is dear to them. It also kind of looks like Romeo is trying to convince or reassure Juliet of something. In this painting, I think that the artist is trying to say that Romeo and Juliet were a couple that loved in private and had to meet in secret with no one around to even talk because of the hate between their families. I also think the artist is saying that the two believed in God to help them get married and that getting married by a priest, or through God, that would make their bond official and their families would then not be able to break them apart.

  3. The painting that was given has a few things it’s trying to say about Hugues Merle interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. From what I can see is that this Romeo is a gold digger of some sort, he is trying to distract her by talking about the texts she’s reading and grabbing something on her left. You can also see that the two people are represented by good and evil, heaven and hell. It seems that Romeo has black hair and tights, with a red coat and red shoes, representing something evil or sinister. Juliet on the other hand has a golden yellow dress and necklace, along with blonde hair, which seems to represent good. I believe with these ideas that Hugues Merles version of Romeo and Juliet was that good and evil come together to love in a relationship that can’t be.

  4. Hugh Merle’s artwork of Romeo and Juliet can be analyzed many ways. The setting is set in a church. The pews are somewhat rusty and eroding away. This can be interpreted as if religion is “eroding” away from the mindsets of the people; the overall painting is set in a religious tone since the setting takes place in a church. In addition, Romeo is shown wearing a red shirt with ruffles that appear to be flames, symbolizing Romeo’s temptation and seduction. The ring on Romeo’s left hand is like a wedding or engagement ring of some sort. Adultery can be possible. Also, Romeo’s leggings are dark which can be associated with evil and the devil. Oddly, Romeo’s face is lit on one side and the other side is dark. This could represent Romeo’s two-face personality. One day he could be joyful and caring and the next day he could be wicked and mistrustful. This alludes to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde because Jekyll and Hyde are the same person, but have different personalities at different times. Moreover, Romeo is “pointing out” Juliet’s red book. Juliet’s book can represent her virginity and innocence; Romeo then makes an effort to “take away Juliet’s purity. The black bag could also represent Juliet’s virginity since Romeo does have sex in the play and takes away Juliet’s virginity. Unlike Rome, the light setting is more shown on Juliet. The light can be seen as heaven or salvation for Juliet. Her face is also lit up which means she maintains her purity and unsinned soul. Juliet’s face is raised in a somewhat similar position of Jesus’ face of his crucifixion, but, Juliet’s face is raised while Jesus’ is not. Juliet’s necklace depicts a cross which references Christianity and Jesus’ crucifixion. Her golden dress is also lit up, unlike Romeo’s clothing. The golden dress can represent Juliet’s innocence and naïve persona.
    Overall, the two different clothing, tone, and personalities of Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted as a religious point of view. Romeo is seen to be wicked and mistrustful while Juliet is shown to be “the guiding light” and spiritual innocence. Both Romeo and Juliet are allusions to the struggles and good and evil, Jesus and Satan. The lighting of the painting is good and the no light is evil. The painting is a clash of opposites since Romeo and Juliet were from opposite and hateful families.

  5. When I had first glanced at the picture, I came up with the story that the woman was simply bored of the man interrupting her reading. However, after staring at the picture for a minute and reading the title of the painting, Romeo & Juliet, by Hugues Merle, the pieces of a different story began to form. After careful examination of the background, the columns, stained glass, and the pews gave indication that the scene was occurring in the church. The book in Juliet’s hand could be a booklet of church songs of a bible, given the context. One of the most eye catching things in the painting is Juliet’s dress. It seems bright and innocent due to the bright but soft yellow glow. Romeo’s red and black attire seems like a dark contrast, yet still a good color combination with Juliet’s soft yellow. This may indicate that they may have fallen for each other for different intentions, however they are still meant to be. Romeo agreed to marry Juliet in order to bed her; meanwhile Juliet believed she loved Romeo. They were meant to be in order to get the two rivaling houses to stop hating each other.

  6. When studying the oil canvas of Romeo and Juliet, noticed a lot of things in this painting. The first thing I saw was the red book because of the color really caught my attention the most. Also believe that they are in a church because if you look closely at the back window there is a cross in bottom right hand corner, which makes me think they are in church. The artist may be trying to say that Romeo is trying to discuss something with Juliet that has something to do with the book because of his right hand is pointing at the book. Juliet is looking into the distance like she doesn’t even acknowledge him and doesn’t even care about the subject he is talking about. I believe they are in a church so none of their families could see them together, this may be a setting where they can just talk together.

  7. To me I believe the artist, Hugues Merle, is trying to show Romeo and Juliet meeting in a church. The stain glass windows behind Romeo and the pews they are sitting on give me this idea. It seems as though Romeo is trying to show or prove something to Juliet to reassure her. His hand pointing to Juliet’s book tell me he’s proving something to her, but his other arm being around her is what tells me that he cares about her. You don’t put your arm around someone when proving something to him or her unless you are trying to reassure them of your point.
    The difference in the color of their clothing could signify Juliet’s purity. Juliet was meant to be a virgin and be innocent and I believe her light clothing shows this. Romeo is wearing very dark clothes because he wasn’t as innocent and was worldlier than Juliet.
    Romeo seems like a devil on her shoulder. He seems to be coming out of the shadows to talk to Juliet. His dark tights and shoes almost blend into the shadows in the corner of the portrait while Juliet is hit by light on almost her whole body. Romeo was more sinister than his female counterpart.

  8. As I examine the painting, it seems to be that Juliet and Romeo are to be in a church or maybe a chapel. I say this because of the glass window behind them, the chairs they are sitting on, and also the book Juliet is holding. To me, it looks like she’s holding a bible. As you look at their attire, it looks very clean and classy. Other than their clothing, objects, and surroundings their posture stands out as well. You can see that Romeo is trying to talk to Juliet and the way her head is facing, looks like Romeo just came in and surprised her. The expressions on their faces show that the conversation they are having seems to be discreet or private. Lastly, if you look at it in a religion (catholic) standpoint, Romeo is wearing the red and/or dark colors, from clothing to hair and Juliet is wearing light clothing, even her hair. Because of that, Romeo looks like he’s representing evil and Juliet represents good. In final aspects, Romeo looks the Satan as Juliet looks like Jesus and Romeo seems to be tempting her.

  9. In Hugues Merle’s painting, Romeo and Juliet, it seems like the two characters are in an old church. You can guess so because of the stained glass window in the back, what looks like The Bible in Juliet’s hand, and pews the two are sitting on. It seems like two are meeting at the church in secret. I believe so because Romeo is sitting behind Juliet and not next to her like someone accompanying you would usually do. Also, it seems like she does not want to look in his eyes or like she is trying to avoid him while he looks straight into her eyes.
    The manner Romeo is approaching Juliet seems like he is trying to seduce her or convince her into doing something. Juliet is portrayed as very angelic looking. She is wearing bright clothes and her face is glowing while she is even wearing a cross necklace around her neck. In the play Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare, the two love each other very much and it seems like Juliet does not need much seduction and convincing to fall for Romeo’s charms. On the other hand, in this painting it seems like Juliet is resisting. The fact that she refuses to look at him in the eyes or even face him, makes her seem like a strong and confident woman. This could represent that women do not always need a man in their life. Even the female in one of the most well-known and famous couples in literature is able to turn down and resist the man we all know she loves.

  10. Merle’s Romeo and Juliet is quite beautiful. Through careful examination of this painting, I notice many things that stand out. First and foremost is the setting, which I’m assuming to be some chapel or church. Juliet is holding something in her hands, which I’d assume to be a Bible. Another interesting thing about the painting is the clothing that both of the subjects are wearing. While Juliet is wearing a yellow silk dress and glows brilliantly, which I am assuming represents purity, Romeo is clad in dark brown. This may be to symbolize the temptation of Romeo to Juliet. Romeo is a sort of devil on Juliet’s shoulder. What they are doing is forbidden and the colors represent that. Finally, much can be gathered from their facial expressions and body language. Juliet seems passive and almost annoyed at Romeo’s presence. In contrast, Romeo is extremely interested in her, passionately looking at her while his hands gesture. I am assuming that Romeo is trying to convince Juliet of something.

  11. The 1879 work entitled Romeo and Juliet depicts a scene not found in the original written work of Shakespeare, so the viewer is left to interpret it. Romeo motioning to a book in Juliet’s hands, what is in the book we do not know, but it is clear that Juliet does not find it important. Juliet’s gaze is to the side and not focused, which represents one of two things. To someone who has not read the work Romeo and Juliet, the viewer would assume that Juliet is simply uninterested in the book or it is unimportant. To someone who has read the work of Shakespeare, the viewer may believe that Juliet is worried someone will find them together and is keeping watch. The painting give a tense feeling.Instead of sitting on the bench next to Juliet, which would feel more relaxed, Romeo is lurched on a stool behind her, like he is waiting to run off or is afraid to be seen. This piece coupled with Juliet’s gaze, leads me to believe that this is a scene from their first meeting at the party.

  12. The artist, Hugues Merle, is trying to depict the seduction and temptation that Romeo used to win over Juliet. Juliet is pictured in a church and seems rather bothered by Romeo’s interruption. Romeo has his arm around her almost and is hunched over behind her as if he snuck up behind her and is whispering something to her. Juliet was probably preoccupied in prayer or whatever she was reading in the little red book in her hands.

    Juliet was probably minding her own business. She had her focus and mind on heavenly and holy things. She probably made up her mind after her first encounter with Romeo, that she wouldn’t give up her beliefs for a boy! But then Romeo snakes his way in! He goes to her secret place, a sacred place, her church! She is supposed to be her focusing on things above, but Romeo finds away to turn her away from these things. The artist clearly shows this in the way she’s looking away from her book and her body is kind of now turned towards Romeo even though he is behind her. She might have quoted something from her book or from the Bible, and Romeo is pointing something out back and twisting her words to change it into a meaning that suits his intentions!

    Romeo is trying to get his way with Juliet. He is aware that he has a certain power over her and can easily sway her to his ways. This is why he ambushes her when she is supposed to be devoting herself to the church, he knows that Juliet wants to devote herself to Romeo. The only way to change her mind is to present himself at church so she can choose which way she wants to go. He knows she won’t be able to resist his charm either. His charm makes her forget her focus and purpose at the church and she chooses Romeo.

  13. Hugues Merle’s painting captures Romeo and Juliet as being contrasting characters. The lighting and the color choice are the two details that stood out the most prominently when I look at the painting. The light, which almost appears to be artificial, shines directly on Juliet while Romeo becomes shrouded in the shadows from behind her. It can be assumed through this detail that Romeo is a darker character than the virtuous Juliet. Merle’s choices in the colors of both Romeo’s and Juliet’s clothing also showcase the same idea. Whereas Juliet is encased in a bright, soft yellow with powder blue and white accents to symbolize her innocence and naivety, Romeo is instead donning dark colors to further blend in with the dark shadows. I think the deep red of his shirt plays an important role as well. The color is often associated with the side of demons and spirits-even the devil himself-and the church setting of the piece as well as the elaborate cross hanging from Juliet’s neck combine to create the image of Satan seducing the innocent virgin girl. Even Romeo’s posture, with his arms thrown around the pew on either side of her, suggests that he is effectively surrounding Juliet-trapping her. The way his hand rests on top of Juliet’s book-presumably a bible or prayer book of some sort-as though he is caught in the process of diverting her attention from the pages to himself, furthers the imagery of the darker and evil Romeo tempting the fair maiden Juliet.

  14. The painting of Romeo and Juliet shows that their in a church, sitting on the pews. The setting could indicate that religion is involved with the reason why they are meeting there. Juliet’s bright colors represents youth and innocence while Romeos colors are dark which would represent his maturity and manhood. Both have fancy clothes and jewelry which symbolizes wealth and power during their period. The difference between Romeo’s gold chain, and Juliet’s gold necklace is that Juliet’s necklace is shape as a cross which indicates that she is closer to her religion then romeo might be.
    By looking at Romeo’s face it indicates that he wants Juliet to do something or say something. When I look at Juliet’s face, her expression shows that she’s thinking about it, or not really paying attention to romeo. It could also represent temptation and not to fall as romeo tempting Juliet to do something, while she is deciding to fall into temptation or not. The book that Juliet is holding could be a bible or just a book that she was reading quietly in the church. Juliet could have been reading when Romeo came to the church in looking for Juliet to tell her show her something. Way back in the painting you can see a window that shows it’s day time around the after noon because its clear skies and the sun isn’t rising or setting. The little symbol in the corner of the window indicates a family’s area or property or it could also be a beauty of art.

  15. In Hugues Merle’s oil painting Romeo & Juliet, it can be argued that Romeo is trying to tempt Juliet. Romeo is seen kneeling behind Juliet who is sitting in a pew. He is staring at Juliet passionately and has his eyes locked onto her. His intentions seem like that of which would be frowned upon at the time because although Romeo and Juliet are in a church, Romeo is darkly lit and Juliet is almost luminescent. Juliet is also seen reading a book and has a cross on her necklace. Romeo may be trying to taint her purity. Juliet, on the other hand, seems reluctantly interested in what Romeo is trying to say. This can be seen through her body language, although she is sitting with her back toward Romeo, she also has her head turned toward his direction. This shows that Romeo is succeeding in changing Juliet’s mind about what he has to say.

  16. In the painting, it looks like Romeo is trying to get real close to Juliet you can tell by the way he was like sitting or leaning against the pew. Juliet seemed kind of oblivious to me, she is staring off into the distance. Maybe she was reading the book and now is lost in thought. then Romeo arrives and just watches until he puts his hand over the book in her lap to try and get her attention but she is gone. Romeo also has his arm around around her and he is looking at Juliet intently. Maybe he trying to figure what she may be thinking about. They are probably just thinking about each other and how in love they are.

  17. Hugh Merle’s painting of Romeo and Juliet depicts the two to be older than they are. In Shakespeare’s story they are teenagers but in this painting they have the faces and bodies of adults. The painting seems to be depicting two people in love to be in a deep conversation. Romeo is trying to tell Juliet something while she is looking at him intently pondering on what he is saying. By Romeo pointing at the book, it implies that they are talking about the content of this book, which might be the Bible. Since they are in a church, it most likely means that they are talking about
    religious or moral topics. By Romeo having a wedding ring, it may also imply that there is adultery as Juliet doesn’t have a ring of her own. It shows that maybe the two have a problem with their love for one another. It seems that although Romeo and Juliet are in love, they are not yet at an intimate level. Alhough Romeo has his arm around Juliet, he is not necessarily touching her.

  18. In Hugues Merle’s oil painting of Romeo & Juliet, I’m guessing that they are at a church maybe before their big commitment (marriage) towards each other. I have noticed that the lighting of this painting is focused on Juliet and much little light was on Romeo. I think Merle is trying to tell us that Juliet is very important in this painting or more likely the “light” of this painting. The most my attention has been to Merle’s painting was his choice of the lighting and color scheme on both Romeo and Juliet. Romeo has dark tone colors like red and black while Juliet has light tone colors like yellow, light blue and white. What I can translate this to is that, Juliet is the lightness and Romeo is the darkness or Juliet represents a holy person while Romeo represents the devil who is trying to tempt her into doing something.Merle is portraying that Juliet is this innocent and sweet girl who is holding a book that maybe the bible. While on the other hand, Romeo is shown as the more of the tempting and guilty guy. In the painting, it shows us that both Romeo and Juliet are wearing gold necklaces. Juliet’s necklace has a cross meaning her religion is important to her and Romeo’s necklace is just a gold chain nothing more, nothing less. It seems that Romeo is trying to convince Juliet to do something but Juliet seems like she’s thinking about Romeo is trying to say to her. But Juliet as the light figure, she is trying not to be tempted by Romeo who is portrayed as darkness.

  19. In Hugues Merle’s oil painting titled “Romeo and Juliet”, I believe the artist wanted to depict a story of forced love as well as good and evil. From studying the painting, I can infer that Romeo is definitely more interested in Juliet than she is in him. Romeo is staring at Juliet while Juliet is looking off into the distance, which I believe is implying that the two do not have mutual feelings. Also it appears that Juliet is standoffish in a way, if she felt the same they would be closer and sitting next to each other but they are not. In my opinion the artist was trying to portray the fact that Juliet does not feel the same and Romeo is forcing himself onto Juliet. Another aspect of the painting I picked up on is the possible symbolism of good and evil. Juliet is wearing bright colors, is painted in the light, and is holding what looks to be a bible. Romeo is wearing dark colors, has dark hair, and is painted in the shadows. I believe the artist chose to do this because in the play Romeo is very rebellious and can be seen as evil, while Juliet is very pure and innocent. Overall I think Merle’s was trying to show the two characters as a forced love as well as a symbolism of good and evil.

  20. From what I’ve viewed in the beautiful oil painting of Romeo & Juliet by Hugues Merle, you definitely get some sense of romantic interaction being attempted at. From first glance, when you see her book and Romeo’s hand gestures, you get some feeling of storytelling occurring. As she is gazes off to the side, with him still in her peripheral vision, you begin to believe Romeo may be the one telling her of these stories. Although in close perception there are aspects of love occurring, inferring the stories are not simple ones.
    If one is familiar with the works of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, there is a lot of romantic poetry. Along with this, you view some manipulative aspects of romantic interaction within the gestures seen in the painting. As you can tell from the way he slowly places his arms around Juliet, we can infer he is attempting to make himself noticed in her presence. By creating a scene where there is barely and space between the two, the artist is creating an atmosphere where one can realize, by obvious body language, she is being consumed into his words by his actions. This can either create a situation where he’s attempting to romanticize her, or where she is attempting to make herself wanted by seeming unwanted.
    In any event, the picture depicts aspects of a renaissance theme. In these style of paintings, the artist often creates a spotlight to show and to remind of godly figures that are always playing a role. In this style of painting facial expressions are often preferred to look dull in the main character by showing slight emotion the artist adds and creates a bolder figure being interpreted. Light shinning from above their heads often becomes a painting showing light from god shining upon a certain character making them a much more attractive figure. This painting then associates this with Juliet in the painting and how she then becomes the wanted or romantic character in the painting just by the simple actions created by the artist. This adds to the message that love is attempted love, and it can sometimes be unwanted but as it persist and consume the individual the complexity of the situation can often become overpowering.

  21. When observing the oil painting Romeo and Julie by Hugues Merle t i noticed a lot of different things. The first thing I noticed was red book, the color really stood out. It appears that the two are in side a church. Looking at her necklace it appears to be religious witch makes me think they are in a church. There also appears to be a cross in one of the windows. It appears to me that maybe romeo is trying to talk Juliet into something but she is just ignoring him. She is looking into the distance acting as if he was not there.I feel like the redone they are in a church is to maybe discuss there marriage or it might be a safe place were there family wont see them together.

  22. Hugues Merle oil painting of Romeo and Juliet seems to be set in a church. The window in the far left corner looks like the ones you would often see in churches. Churches would usually have nice floors and it looks like they are on marble tiles. Romeo and Juliet are also sitting down in what seems like pews. However, they are sitting in different rows. Juliet is sitting in a row ahead of him which might indicate that she is more religious and is physically closer to the stage where the pastor would be. Furthermore, the pews look different. Juliet’s looks nicer and cleaner compared to Romeo’s pew. Hugues point could be that Juliet is a virgin and innocent while Romeo is a dirty and shady man.
    Juliet is wearing a gold dress and it seems like the light is being reflected upon it. It is obvious that it means she is holy. While Romeo is wearing a red outfit which clearly represents the devil. Juliet is wearing a necklace that looks religious and so is Romeo but his is hidden behind the pew. So Romeo can easily hide or ignore his religion and he seems devilish. Romeo has one arm around her and the other outstretch like he wants to take her hand and leave. Juliet is most likely holding a bible but she is looking away from it and from Romeo. It is as if she is deciding what to do. Even though they are close to each other, both of their legs are facing opposite directions. It could be because their families are enemies or because they represent opposite things, such as seducer and virgin.

  23. In the oil painting of Romeo and Juliet, by Hugues Merle has a very particular hidden meaning in it. We can start out with Juliet and her meaning to the painting. First her dress is made up of very bright vibrant colors showing that she is pure and shows her innocence. Next she has a necklace that has a cross on it and she is carrying a bible with her too. These two objects she is carries represents that she is very religious. Let’s move on to Romeo, his clothes are the opposite of Juliet’s clothes. Instead of his clothes bright like hers, they have more of a darker look or tone to them. I believe that this is because Merle wanted to depict Romeo as evil or hellish. His clothes are red and black like the colors of Satan or hell. Next we move to his hand that has a ring on it, I believe that he is married and is letting himself fall into temptation because he is about commit adultery. The setting is also a key part to this painting meaning because it is set in a church. I think that Merle did this to help us figure out the meaning of Romeo and Juliet significance of their presence in this panting. Overall I think that this painting describes the opposites of good and evil but in religious standards like how Jesus is the good side of Christianity and Satan is the evil side of Christianity. This is a good comparison to use in Romeo and Juliet because their families are opposite to one another just like good and evil in Christianity.

  24. In the painting “Romeo and Juliet” by Hughes Merle, it looks like Merle is showing Romeo trying to persuade Juliet about something inside a church. Romeo looks like he is persuading Juliet because his face is facing towards her and his arms are around her. It seems as if Juliet is upset with what Romeo is saying because of her face and body is completely turned away from Romeo. She is not even looking at him. But it looks like Romeo is really trying to make Juliet listen because he leaned closely towards Juliet and even took off his hat. It seems like the subject Romeo is trying to discuss with Juliet has to do with her because her face looks very displeased and the lighting of the room is very unnatural. There is clearly a highlight on Juliet, almost as if a higher being such as a God is shining down on her. The light on her could have to do with her being a pure virgin if the painting takes place early on in the couple’s romance. Romeo and Juliet look like they are sitting in a church, because Juliet is holding what looks like a bible. Another indicator that they are in a church is that there are stained glass windows behind the couple. They are also sitting on a carved wooden benches that are commonly used in churches. It looks like Merle is trying to show that Juliet does not care for what Romeo is saying, but Romeo will not back down and is making sure that Juliet will hear what he says.

  25. In this painting, much can be told just by the clues given visually. At a quick glance a short idea can be drawn from the painting using nothing but facial expressions. Romeo looks at Juliet adoringly while Juliet seems almost apathetic. Romeo is deeply in love with Juliet but she could use some convincing.
    The next clues can be seen by looking at the center of the picture. quite obviously we see a book. Juliet is flipping through the pages. On the other hand Romeo is stopping to point at something specific on a page. This further displays the emotions that we were able to determine from the facial expressions. Juliet is apathetic while Romeo is concentrated.
    What a viewer may notice next is the appearel. Romeo and Juliet are dressed up in different colors that don’t seem to match very well. Romeo is sporting a crimson paired with black while Juliet is wearing a dress of a much lighter blue and gold. Romeo, like Juliet, is wearing a necklace, but you cannot view what it is. The viewer can also see that Juliet is wearing a necklace with the sun on it. This is a sly reference to the play itself where Romeo says, “Oh arise fair sun and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief.” Although Romeo is not wearing his hat, it does draw attention to his left ring finger which is the beholder of a ring. This ring signifies marriage, however Juliet herself is not wearing a wedding ring.
    With the clues observed this conclusion can be drawn. Juliet represents light and goodness on a metaphorical level, and at the same time innocence and naivety. Romeo is darker and and his motives can be questioned with his determination that he shows visibly. On a deeper level, Romeo’s motivation can be seen as hidden due to his pendent being hidden. Overall this painting shows how Romeo may have been to blame for this tragic tale of lovers.

  26. Hugues Merle’s work Romeo and Juliet (1879), was painted with careful attention to detail. It demonstrates clear thought, from the time of day to the dynamics of Romeo and Juliet.

    Starting with the setting, it can be inferred that it is set in an affluent place. This is clear through the furniture and the windows. There are rich brown wooden benches with nice and intricate designs and windows with glass divided with what is probably made of some metal (a sign of wealth).

    The time of the painting is set to around midday with favorable temperatures. This is shown though the windows in which a light blue sky with white puffy cumulus clouds are present. With the presence of cumulous clouds, the weather can be said to be neither too cold nor too warm (just perfect).

    With a perfect setting and time, what better than to meet with your significant other? Merle paints Romeo and Juliet so that we have a glimpse into their personalities and character.

    Through the painting, it can be inferred that Romeo is shown to be less mature than Juliet. His facial expression suggests that he is trying to explain himself, like a child trying to prove they are grown to their parents. Yet, it is clear that he is not in fact grown because of his light facial hair. Grown men have darker tones and more visible facial hair while young boys have light facial hair signaling their early transition into adulthood. Even though Romeo demonstrates a youthful tone, he is no stranger to the ideas of love and lust. His red clothing brings a sense of sensuality and passion that proves that Romeo is growing up. In addition, like any other boy entering his teenage years, he is not oblivious to the ideas of sex and seduction for he has his arm around Juliet like it is second nature and not at all an attempt to have her at her knees (comes to show his suaveness).

    In contrast to Romeo, Juliet is painted to be perceived as an opposite of Romeo. Her look of annoyance (she looks about 100% done with whatever Romeo has to say but since she loves him she brings it down to a 75%) demonstrates that she is more knowledgeable and mature than her lover. Moreover she does not have bags under her eyes (unlike Romeo) which might indicate that she is put together. In addition, the book in her hand gives her a sense of being a studious and obedient girl. Even with her maturity, Juliet still shows a sense of purity. This is shown though her angelic looking face and her clothes that are in clear and warm colors.

  27. The first thing I noticed in Hugues Merle’s painting, “Romeo & Juliet”, was the use of lighting. The contrast of dark around Romeo and the light around Juliet represents the difference in character of the two of them. Romeo is a bit mysterious and “shady” if you will, while Juliet is an innocent and naïve young girl.

    Aside from the lighting, there is also a contrast in clothing and appearance. Juliet’s dress is a bright gold while Romeo”s garments are a deep red with dark colored tights. Again, the use of light and dark contrast signifies Romeo’s darkness and obscurity compared to Juliet’s bright, clean appearance that makes her look holy.

    Finally, the fact that Juliet is sitting in the light in the church shows she is innocent and honest. Romeo”s sitting in the darkness shows his secrecy.

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