William Holman Hunt – The Awakening Conscience
I dare to say that this is my favorite painting ever ever ever. I love her facial expression, I love the meaning of its elements like the wool, her rings, the cat, the wallpaper and the statue of Cupid and I love the mirror and its reflexion.
Here you have a bit of its description from Wikipedia.
The Awakening Conscience (1853) is an oil-on-canvas painting by British artist William Holman Hunt, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which depicts a young woman rising from her position in the lap of a man and gazing transfixed out of the window of a room.
Initially the painting would appear to be one of a momentary disagreement between husband and wife, or brother and sister, but the title and a host of symbols within the painting make it clear that this is a mistress and her lover. The woman’s clasped hands provide a focal point and the position of her left hand emphasizes the absence of a wedding ring. Around the room are dotted reminders of her “kept” status and her wasted life: the cat beneath the table toying with a bird; the clock concealed under glass; a tapestry which hangs unfinished on the piano; the threads which lie unravelled on the floor; the print of Frank Stone’s Cross Purposes on the wall; Edward Lear’s musical arrangement of Tennyson’s poem “Tears, Idle Tears” which lies discarded on the floor, and the music on the piano, Thomas Moore’s “Oft in the Stilly Night”, the words of which speak of missed opportunities and sad memories of a happier past. The discarded glove and top hat thrown on the table top suggest a hurried assignation. The room is too cluttered and gaudy to be in a Victorian family home; the bright colours, unscuffed carpet, and pristine, highly-polished furniture speak of a room recently furnished for a mistress. […]
The mirror on the rear wall provides a tantalizing glimpse out of the scene. The window — opening out onto a spring garden, in direct contrast to the images of entrapment within the room — is flooded with sunlight. The woman’s face does not display a look of shock that she has been surprised with her lover; whatever attracts her is outside of both the room and her relationship.