skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » , » Show Spenser as a pictorial artist with reference to The Faerie Queene Book I ?

Spenser is one of the renowned pictorial artists in English poetry and his pictures are life-like and colorful. Although he was not a painter, he could paint with words and colorful and decorative pictures quite in the style of European painters. The Faerie Queene is a picture gallery with luxurious richness and colorful decorations. When we read it, we pass through an enchanted landscape in which there is a dream-like succession of pageants and dissolving views of forests, lakes, caves, and palaces. Spenser draws imagery from various sources, such as (a) Elizabethan court pageants, masques, and festive dances (b) Elizabethan furniture, tapestries, etc. (c) Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Virgil's Eclogues and (d) The Bible.

Spenser does not avoid the world of human beings. He has drawn concrete and realistic pictures of knights, ladies, queens, heroes, and warriors. For example, we get a wonderful picture of a Medieval Knight in the figure of the Red Cross Knight as described by the poet. "A gentle Knight was pricking on the plane." The Red Cross Knight riding on the horse was of noble birth. On his breast, he bore a bloody cross as a token of his love and allegiance to Jesus Christ who had died on the Cross. The sign of the Cross was also inscribed on his shield. He was a follower of Christ both in word and deed. The medieval institution of Knight errantry had a peculiar fascination for Spenser and we get an impression and detailed word-paintings of scenes of fighting, knightly encounters, and bloodshed.

Spenser shows himself at his best when freed from the need of describing a scene or object in actual existence. He gives free rein to his imagination when dealing with the objects of his own creation. On such occasions, he seems to experience a peculiar joy as he bathes his fanciful creations in the light and color and shade of his own choice.

Spenser's word pictures are usually elaborate and developed at full length with every minute detail, worked to its widest span. He is an artist who knows where he has to restrain his verse and content himself by touching upon a significant detail or two leaving the manifold details of the picture to the imagination of his reader.

Spenser has painted the beauty of nature. He has given vivid pictures of beasts and giants, but when he comes to delineating ugliness or evoking disgust or dread by representing horror in its most impressive aspect, he seems to put forth all the power of his poetic language. The portrait of Archimago is presented in such a way that apparently he seems simple but full of treacherous guile, knitting, and the snare of his villainous mischief while professing holiness and piety.

Spenser is skilled in presenting the abstract in concrete forms. In the poetic description, sound imagery is the natural accompaniment of word painting. The Faerie Queene is peopled with noise and sound. So, Spenser introduces vocal and instrumental music in his imagery and this was the demand of the age. In image-making power, his superiority to his contemporary poets is one of degree, resulting from a finer sensibility and a wider range of appeal which have strengthened his position as the poet's poet.


Post a Comment

Back To Top