Dec 19, 2018
With the winter around the corner, we make a brief review of how the artists got inspired by this season for their works. These dates are usually associated inevitably with the end of the year and the abundant parties, but the beginning of winter has traditionally been a time celebrated by many cultures as it gives way to a period of growth of days and a stage of preparation for the upcoming cycle. Even Greek mythology has a story for this phenomenon. Demeter, goddess of life and earth, separated from her daughter Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades and condemned to remain in the underworld, agreed to spend half of the year in her company and the other half on Olympus. Demeter was sad in the months when she was not with Persephone, which correspond to autumn and winter, leaving the earth neglected and withered, as opposed to spring and summer, time spent with her daughter.
From the classicism, winter was approached with naturalistic perspective. This approach goes through the different artistic branches and has also served to feed the nineteenth-century narrative that represents this season in a raw way to underline the social differences that many characters of the literature of the time should pass through. As for the visual arts, authors opted for more realistic expressions, an exercise that often served as pictorial analysis on the depiction of the natural state, the changes of light, the reproduction of textures, volumes... in scenes dominated by snow in the rural environment.
The winter, present with its hardest, implacable and almighty face, composes a mental image fueled to a great extent by the literature of the late nineteenth century as well as by the recurrent representation of realistic painting that began to pay less attention to elitist themes. The flight of pictorial productions of religious content or portraits by order gave way to a real concern for society, for the situation of the individual in their daily lives and the expression of an authentic and not always docile life that required, among other things, facing the winter in unfavourable circumstances. In this naturalistic trend, one sees the will to change the focus of attention of the aristocracy to the ordinary people, and to elaborate an egalitarian discourse that does not highlight the powerful over the weak but treats all individuals equally.
Our perception of this season has changed in recent decades. The linking of these dates with the grand celebrations make up an inseparable whole in which consumerism has absorbed the beginning of the season and almost goes unnoticed. The current representation of winter connects with snowy prints, red lights and smiles on the face. There is, in all this, a search for the ideal beauty, a compositional artifice that floods all our behaviours in society and reaches, even in a false way, the very strength of nature. Today the winter, after having surpassed in the arts the traditional pictorialism, is represented mainly through photography, a discipline that dares to recreate nature in a more wild and challenging. In fact, documentary photography is a very exploited line in our days, and the result is images of high visual impact.