Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Allegory

Of all the artwork inspired by seasons, I perhaps like spring paintings the best. The richness of summery works and the golden hues of autumn are lovely in their own way, but the idyllic pastoral scenes that signify "spring" both soothe and spur me to ramble. And the eighteenth century has some really lovely "seasonal" artwork. Like this lovely Fragonard, with its idealized tones of spring and bouyant subject of a swing:


Of course, not all eighteenth-century spring artwork is a full oil painting. I found this simple print, and wanted to share to see what you all thought:

So many symbols that it must be allegory--the pair of doves, gestured to by the young man, in reflection of the pair of lovers, perhaps? The young boy poking at the baby birds and the blackbird uncovering a basket of eggs--both seem to be commentaries on fertility. But the piece that really fascinates me is the old woman behind the couple--is she just a generic curmudgeon? Or does the fact that she and the young woman are both wearing the same dotted kercheif significant--perhaps a warning of the inevitable passage of spring toward winter?

And a couple pieces of fashion commentary, of course. First, those dotted kercheifs, potential symbolism aside, are cheeky and adorable. You can also see, in a rare glimpse given that these were usually kept buried under skirts, the woman's pocket, peeping blue from under her gown. There is a note of some sort in it--unfortunately the quality of the image isn't quite high enough to read it. And her gown is sweet, isn't it? Seems to be a round gown (a gown in which there is a front panel that matches the rest of the gown, rather than open to show the petticoat beneath) that's been rucked up in a polonaise all the way around to show off the quilted petticoat beneath. I also adore the shorter, banded sleeves that allow the shift to peek out underneath.
Thoughts on either piece? Any favorite pieces of spring artwork?

1 comment:

missbluestocking said...

(In you poll, I chose nonfiction/biographies! The truth IS stranger than fiction! Very well put, haha. Right now I'm reading the bio about Byron. He is one messed up Regency rake; I can't believe I used to call Lucas the Byronic hero. Byron was MONSTERRRRRRR).

I love those pictures/plates/whatever they're called. I just recently learned that research can be done by observing the art from the past. I used to only use pictures painted then to get a better image of how their fashion was like. But one can gain so much more. Like how the city looks like. Or what sort of animals exist in a farm. How the state of city streets are like etc.,

I thought those stuff you could only figure out through books. I guess I was wrong! Thanks for sharing :)