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The Nightingale and the Rose

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By thenumber42   |   
My piece for ~Illustrationshare 's contest for "Illustrate a Story". This is taken from the tale of the same title, written by Oscar Wilde.

The plot of this tragic story is that a young man wishes to dance with the love of his life...but she will only dance with him if he gives her a red rose. But it's the dead of winter, so it's impossible. The nightingale, who wants him to be happy and in love, decides to help him find a rose. However, she learns that the only way to make one grow is to pierce her heart on the rose bush's thorn, to make a red rose bloom out of love and blood. She dies, and the young man plucks the rose to give to his lady love. She spurns the gift, which took such a tremendous sacrifice, because it doesn't match her dress.

Yeah. :chainsaw:

Pens on bristol, with colors in Photoshop 7.

This picture was featured in Vanity Fair Italy --> [link]
Image size
3300x5100px 1.63 MB
anonymous's avatar
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Tortive's avatar
TortiveHobbyist General Artist
I know that story!
Maruseria's avatar
MaruseriaStudent Digital Artist
Oh my god. Just cried remembering this story. It's just amazing, and I loved your Illustration of it. Congratulations.
LadyLillyn's avatar
LadyLillynStudent Photographer



Shimial's avatar
I adore the Nightingale and the rose short-story and this is a great visual representation of it. Congrats!
DashieInLove's avatar
Like the german Song "Nachtigall und Rose" from Saltatio Mortis... Beautiful Art! <3
Xloi63's avatar
I want this as a tattoo, but I don't think it would translate well...
Freakin' beautiful though!
menoux's avatar
menouxHobbyist Artist
Wow, she rejects the gift because it doesn't match her DRESS?:iconareyoukiddingmeplz:

Excuse my language, but she is one hell of a bitch!:iconthatsgreatplz:
Kyouningyou's avatar
I remember that story. It was crushing, but it made me think of a line from a different poem.

"Thou wast not meant to die, immortal bird..."

I forget the rest, but I translate it to she shouldn't have been allowed to make that sacrifice.
DamagedMusicBox's avatar
DamagedMusicBoxHobbyist General Artist
CelebLhach's avatar
I love this because because of the simplicity - with few elements you've managed to create a picture containing so much beauty and pain.
Acidrhapsody's avatar
its a nice analogy for christ and his atonement if you think about it
thenumber42's avatar
thenumber42Student Traditional Artist
That's how I thought of it, as well.
KasonSama's avatar
KasonSamaHobbyist General Artist
I've always loved that story, so sad and pretty...
spockezri's avatar
spockezriHobbyist Artist
Lovely :)
That story is amazing, and it's so sad...
CartoonCactus's avatar
My favourite tale ;) Really nice illustration. I really like the drop of blood on the rose petal ;) The only pity, in my opinion, is that there's not expressed how useless the whole sacrifice was...but I doubt It would be possible to paint this idea in any way...

But really great work ;)
Navi128's avatar
Tis so deep and, awesome. I really like this! :pat:
thenumber42's avatar
thenumber42Student Traditional Artist
Thank you very much.
songstressofselene's avatar
Tragic and beautiful; I love it!
naturalBEAR's avatar
naturalBEARHobbyist Photographer
9zara-sparghai's avatar
I LOVE THIS STORY. Oscar wilde ftw. Beautiful story and beautiful art :love:
thenumber42's avatar
thenumber42Student Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! :lol:
9zara-sparghai's avatar
Your welcome!!
Renca-W's avatar
This story always freaks me out and makes me cry
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