Friday, May 23, 2008

Women and Snakes: Collier and Rubens

Lilith, by John Collier

One of my commenters suggested that the last bit of "Women and Snakes" artwork I posted did not meet his standards of artistry. That's okay; I can handle dissent. However, I pity anyone who cannot appreciate either of these two, for whatever reason.

Adam and Eve, by Rubens

Two different artists, and the only commonality is the snake, really, as Lilith only appears as a woman apocryphally, and not in the Christian Bible as such.

I'm tempted to let my own projections run a little while. Lilith, Adam's first wife (apocryphally), embraces the snake, and makes him her own. There is a small suggestion of this with Eve, but her downcast eyes are looking not at the snake, (who is above her in the tree), but rather in avoidance of Adam's scolding. Hmmph. No wonder Lilith left him, the jerk.

In the great folk engines, Lilith is related to Circe, Kali, and all the other female powers that were driven into darker aspects by...something. What this something might be I leave as an exercise for the reader, acknowledging that the entire thing is just a stroll around the litoral regions of Lake Id and Superego Cove.


Arnaud said...

Gosh, it was not in my intention to offend, Mr Killus, only to point out that the picture in question would maybe have been more appropriate for the walls of one of the late Saddam Hussein's palaces... ;¬)

Seriously, I had a look at Steven Stahlberg's site and found it quite cool (if unashamedly 80s); his motorbike concept in particular I found hilarious, but that picture? For a start, did you notice that this woman/girl/fairy has only one breast, bang in the middle of her chest?

I found that... disturbing.

black dog barking said...

Lake Id and Superego Cove indeed! Dr Wiki puts Collier solidly in Queen Victoria's era and offers a couple other examples of splendid Victorian pr0n, the Arts and Classics providing the excuse to air Dr Freud's id on gallery walls.

Gotta call bullshit on Rubens' vision of Eden. IIRC the serpent lost his legs as punishment for his role in the Fall but, since Mr & Mrs Smith aren't voluntarily covering up, it would appear we've arrived pre-fruit tasting. Also note Adam's well coiffed head compared to Eve's down to the ass shock. It's like someone once pointed out about Hollywood -- you can tell when the movie was made by looking at the male actor's hair styles. Female characters were coiffed for the story's period but male actors could change out of costume, walk into a bar and not look a bit out of place.

In re: Eden, Lilith, serpents, etc. Vonnegut, once asked a magazine poll-type question on the order of "What one thing can you not live without?", answered "Temptation".

James Killus said...

arnaud, I was not offended by your opinion of the Stahlberg piece, but my friend who currently has it as his desktop wallpaper was a little more vehement. I do disagree with your "single breast" interpretation, however, though I might like it if I saw it that way. There's no reason why faeries need to mature in the same way that huans do, for exaple, or maybe she's one of those Amazon feries that here so little about.

black dog, I'm pretty sure that the two of them just haven't realized that they don't reember what they did with their clothes. "We can't have been naked, all this time, can we?" he's saying, and she can't belie4ve she's spent so much time with this tool.

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