The Evergreen and the Winter Season

This little magazine is the most ornamented that we have seen yet. It is so interesting to see how decorated the pages are especially in comparison to The Yellow Book which was particularly plain. I found it interesting that The Yellow Book avoided ornamentation because they believed it devalued art, but you can see all the effort and attention to detail on the ornaments designed for The Evergreen. The ornaments do not feel like an afterthought but instead they feel carefully constructed in order to embody the issue’s themes and ideologies. This week’s presentation focused on volume 4 which represented Winter.

It was so interesting to see how a lot of the images and headpieces chose to depict female figures which relates to how the image of women was more visually pleasing. The Evergreen did not include many advertisements, so their intent was not to commercialize the visual of a woman. This makes me wonder if Patrick Geddes and associates were using women to explore more pagan ideologies that differed from male dominated Christian ideologies. In W.G Murdoch’s “Winter,” we see a woman walking in the snow accompanied by a baby (or small child) with wings. This may have been the spirit of Winter, and this points to non-Christian belief systems. The “Almanac” also depicts a similar scene is a more stylized way.

I also thought it was very interesting that although the magazine had a strong Celtic influence, it also tried to reference other cultures. This can be seen in J. Arthur Thomas’ “The Biology of Winter,”  as well as Patrick Geddes’ “Lapis Philosophorum.” There is reference to other cultures which are more equipped to survive Winter in Thomas’ work but Geddes’ image is particularly interesting with its Egyptian influence. It’s so interesting to see Egypt and Egyptian iconography represented in a Celtic influenced magazine about Winter, especially when Egypt conjures images of heat and deserts. I think it referred to a larger theme of death as a ritualistic experience. There is a prevailing belief in this magazine that Winter is as natural as death. This is well explained using the metaphor of “Sleeping Beauty” who embodies Spring and Summer when awake, and pricked by a cold needle, representing Winter, is forced her to sleep/die. I think Geddes’ may have been referencing ideas of the afterlife that are prevalent in Egyptian ceremonies of death.  The process of preservation and burying loved ones with things they will use in the after life suggests that death is not the end. It is a cessation which leads new life, a new Spring. In death, there is the possibility to be reborn once again.

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