03 April 2011

Spring and Rebirth: Easter and the Golden Egg

Peter Carl Fabergé's (1846-1920) The Lilies of the Valley Egg was an Easter gift for the Empress Alexandra (1872-1918) from her husband Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918). The Russian jeweler’s ateliers fabricated the Art Nouveau style egg in 1898. Comprised of gold covered in a translucent rose pink enamel ground, it is decorated with green leaves, pearl lilies, and diamond dewdrops. The surprise of the gift is revealed when twisting a gold-mounted pearl button at the side of the egg causes the ruby and diamond set crown at top to rise, exposing the miniature portraits of the Tsar and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. Eggs have been a symbol of spring and rebirth since Pagan times. For Christians the egg is seen as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus; its hard shell corresponds to the sealed tomb of Christ, holding a new life. Italian painter Mariotto di Cristofano (1393-1457) rendered the resurrection of Christ from a porphyry tomb in the International Gothic Style. In Aesop's Fables, an egg has a different meaning. Killing The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs warns us not to be seduced by greed. American illustrator Milo Winter (1888- 1956) portrays the foolish farmer with his golden goose.


10 comments:

  1. I love reading through this story. As with so many well founded symbols the ideas are sadly lost in the world we live in - this is one of many the images you've used here a perfect. thanks pgt

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  2. Thank you PGT, Yes I agree we have lost sight of so many of the important lessons that have come down through the centuries. Best, Kendra

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  3. Of course I prefer the Pagan view where symbols were a part of the cycle of life. Don't even get me started about the "easter bunny." Happy spring, P&P.

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  4. HBD~ I so agree, I am a pagan at heart which is why Halloween is my favorite holiday. Best, Kendra

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  5. Beautiful Fabergé! Although the epitome of decadence - who needs these eggs - I love these for their unsurpassed beauty and although you need a lot of pocket money to get hold of such an egg I fully understand why collectors are getting crazy about them...

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  6. Petra, I know Fabergé is decadent but on the other hand its patrons supported many artisans who may not have had an outlet for their talents otherwise. Best, Kendra

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  7. Hi Kendra,
    Lovely as usual.
    I of course love the di Cristofano, only just beginning to really understand (the first) International Style; have long loved its ornamental complexity, but beginning to understand the significance. I understand being a pagan at heart, but I am deeply drawn to Christian art and sentiment, thanks for showcasing the resurrected Lord.
    Take care,
    Leonard

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  8. Hi Len, Thank you and happy Spring. As much as I am a pagan I am also drawn to Christian art, it must be my Portuguese and Irish heritage. Best, Kendra

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  9. Always such wonder here...and things that set me dreaming. Thanks for the intriguing posts.
    Catherine

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  10. Thank you so much Catherine! I always find TCH sets me dreaming also. Best, Kendra

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