Of Earth Heaven and Sea
Charcoal and pastel on paper
11 x 17 inches
In Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale of The Little Mermaid, the mermaid realizes that by the end of her allotted time on earth, she cannot get the prince to fall in love with her. Her sisters barter with the antagonist (the sea witch) and are given a dagger that the little mermaid must slay the prince with, which will allow the mermaid to live on. Instead of doing this, the mermaid throws herself into the water and dissolves into sea foam. Her newfound soul does not fade, but rather becomes an air wraith that is promised to heaven.
Anderson’s version paints the heroine as a more beautiful, more innocent soul- untouched by jealousy and emitting a love more pure than the will to survive. What may be surprising to most is that Anderson’s original story was written as a heartfelt love letter to a man named Edvard Collin. The story was said to symbolize his inability to have Collin just as a mermaid cannot be with a human.
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City