Not every woman entered into a forced marriage. Some were able to choose, accept or decline marriage proposals, as depicted in Edmund Blair Leighton’s “Off” of 1899 which tells the story of the aftermath of a failed marriage proposal. The man is obviously upset as he walks away, flowers tossed violently on the ground. The woman’s face tells us that she wasn’t pleased by the offer of marriage from this man. Personally, she looks annoyed. Perhaps she is hoping for a proposal from someone else.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at these paintings. As I have always said, art reflects the society in which they were created. These paintings do reflect the period in which they were created. The stories these paintings tell are truths. The truth about women, truths about men, and truths about society in general.