After Sandro Botticelli’s c. 1475 painting, Spring by Janée J. Baugher

Wednesday, November 06, 2019 8:44 AM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

After Sandro Botticelli’s c. 1475 painting, Spring

In a citrus grove in spring, the wind distributes the pollen, then gestation happens and hence, flora sprouts from her mouth. Spring personified as the maiden carries a bunch of flowers and petals. Mercury as Wind on one side of the canvas. The three Graces, intertwining all 30 fingers, signify love for humanity. In the center, Venus cloaked in a white gown and red wrap. Cupid hovers above her and aims his arrow carelessly. All bodies are symmetrical and serene. The translucent gowns, see the curves and see their faces like friends. We must relish in spring, but not adhere to it. In winter, the mind was at home with the cold white mornings and the short days smelling of decay and endings. Do not let spring fool you, she begs, relish in all the elements: Talk to the wind so no one will hear you, look to Cupid’s aims if you’ve lost direction, gaze at Mercury, for when he appears, it’s only an illusion. The fruit and flowers depicted in that painting couldn’t have existed in nature at the same time. But the artist could not consider realism, the way grass grows upward and green, and how some nights the wind gusting through your window is a little blue man. As for Venus, she can name the flowers and fruit, but she can never describe to you their colors.

Janée J. Baugher

Janée J. Baugher is the author of two ekphrastic poetry collections, The Body’s Physics and Coördinates of Yes. Her poetry and prose have been published in Tin House, The Writer’s Chronicle, Boulevard, NANO Fiction, Nimrod, and The Southern Review, among other places, and she teaches at Richard Hugo House. In autumn 2020, McFarland will publish her academic book, Ekphrastic Writing: A Guide to Visual-Art-Influenced Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction.

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