Love in Sadness: Interpretation of the painting The Rosemary lost in the sea

episode 11: in the foreground, there is a small bottle with a branch of Rosemary in it.

Since this painting is so different from the other creations of our heroine, I kind of neglected this painting. However, this picture is important because it outlines the huge gap between YMR and her husband KIW. From YMR’s perspective, this painting could be perceived in two different ways:

  • She is the lost ship using the bottle with the rosemary as she is sending a SOS. Yes, the sea could symbolize KIW trying to control YMR. The fury of the sea and the storm fits to KIW’s rage and violence. She could drown if the power of the sea is too strong illustrating that if she is caught, she might die.
  • The second meaning is different. Since YMR’s name resembles the plant rosemary, the bottle could embody YMR leaving KIW, the huge ship. The plant is so small compared to the ship which mirrors KIW’s power and wealth. Don’t forget that I had already pointed out that SJW and YMR are connected to nature, while KIW is associated through his fortune to civilization. This picture not only represents her last attempt to escape from KIW’s claws, it also symbolizes the despair of YMR. She is even willing to risk her own life as she has no idea if she will be found and rescued. The picture illustrates her courage as she entrusts  her destiny to nature and chance.

Concerning our antihero, KIW interprets this painting in the opposite way: KIW is the rosemary in the bottle, while YMR is the ship. In his eyes, the ship is abandoning the rosemary. He doesn’t see the struggle of the titling ship. For him, the painting illustrates the abandonment and betrayal of YMR. Like he kept saying before, without her he can not live and this picture illustrates his own thoughts. He still sees himself as a powerless man depending on his wife. The huge waves and the storm represents the world menacing him: his father, his step-mother and his other enemies. Without her guidance, KIW considers himself as lost and he needs her by his side so that he can overcome this dangerous world. But if we see it from his perspective, his interpretation indicates his blindness. He overlooks that the rosemary hasn’t been thrown away, but it was put in a bottle as a protection so that it can not drown. Moreover, like I had mentioned it before, he overlooks the problem that the ship is facing. He also ignores the significance of this gesture: titling ship asking for help. As conclusion, KIW’s interpretation of that painting outshines KIW’s lack of self-awareness. He doesn’t see himself as a dangerous and violent man, somehow he seems to be trapped in the past, as if he was a little boy. 

I guess that when KIW saw the painting with the cistus, he only perceived YMR as a small and weak flower that needed protection in a dark world. He never associated himself to the dead wood, rather he connected it to the dangerous world (his father, her mother’s illness)

To sum up, the interpretation of a painting is also influenced by the beholder’s mentality. Sure, if we know more about the painter, the beholder is able to understand the emotions and the message of the creator, yet the beholder is free to interpret the picture differently, I mean, to add a different meaning/message. In the end, there is no right or wrong, by analyzing a picture.

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