Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Wednesday 10th December - The Snow Maidens

Do you realise we are only a couple of days away from being halfway through Blogvent?  Doesn't time fly when you're steeped in booze fumes?  Anyway, today's picture is a load of naked ladies...

The Snow Maidens (1913) Henrietta Rae
I'm not judging (I completely am) however this does not seem like a smart idea. But then if I was young and nubile then maybe I would fanny about in the snowy forest in my all-together too.  It reminds me, rather unpoetically, of a conversation I had at my local shop with a woman who felt her gentleman had done her wrong. 'Well, we've all been there, haven't we?' she said to me, stoically. 'You're screaming blue murder at him, chasing his car as he drives off down the road and you realise you've forgotten to put any clothes on...' Well quite.

It seems an odd choice of allegory, snow and winter as a young woman.  Surely the end of a year is more often seen as an old man, Father Time, handing the mantle over to the baby at new year.  Maybe it's the purity of snow?  The whiteness, the sterility of it?  That's what a gent looks for in a lady - clean and unfertile.  No, hang on, that doesn't sound right.  Maybe it's the smooth cool layer over the richness of the soil?  No, that just sounds weird.  Snow is like a beautiful young woman, you end up wanting to stay in bed all day?  I do apologise.

Heart of Snow Edward Hughes
Rae wasn't the only artist to use beautiful young nymphettes as an allegory for snow.  I used Hughes' Heart of Snow in a past Blogvent and wondered if he was making a judgement on the young woman's affections.  Maybe it's a comment on beauty, so wonderful and dazzling but so fleeting and gone in such a short amount of time.  Well, that's depressing.  Let's go with this: A cold winter's day is like a beautiful woman, both will take your breath away.

Today's present suggestion is another book, and one of my favourites.  I bought Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture by Bram Dijkstra back in 2003 and go back to it a lot in my research.  It's filthy, funny and obscenely educational which is exactly why I love it so much.

You'll learn loads and you won't be bored, plus it has some illustrations I've never seen anywhere else, some of them for very good reasons.  I wish I had written it but I don't think I would have done half as good a job as Dijkstra.  Enjoy!

To buy this book on Amazon, look here (UK) or here (US) or Abebooks.


  1. But surely those are flowers in the first painting, not snow? Snowdrops, to be exact? The Hughes picture is much creepier and less comprehensible (not that I would frolic among flowers in the altogether, either. Because bees.)

  2. You're right, there are some snowdrops amid the snow maidens. I wonder if their maiden-ness is the promise of spring?

    No, outdoor naked frolicking is beset with dangers, no matter what the season. Best frolic indoors where the worst you will stand on is a Lego brick.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. I'd forgotten about that book ... thanks for the reminder! **Runs down to basement and starts rummaging through the fifteen or so boxes of books that haven't been unpacked yet as there is no more room on the bookshelves.**

  4. It's a cracking read, glad to be of service!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx