30 May 2011

The Wolf and the Lamb: The Tyrant and the Innocent

In Aesop’s Fable of The Wolf and the Lamb, a tyrannical wolf justifies killing an innocent lamb. French Art Deco artist Benjamin Rabier (1864-1939) illustrated the tale in the 1906 copy of Les fables de la Fontaine. Literature and art often depicted wolves as fearsome villains. English author Joan Aiken (1924-2004) used the animal as a metaphor for the evil people surrounding two young cousins in her children’s novel The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. American writer and artist Edward Gorey (1925-2000) provided a macabre illustration for the book cover. In Eastern European fairy tales, the wolf is a sinister creature of the forest along with Baba Yagas as seen in the Art Nouveau watercolor Three Women and Three Wolves by Swiss decorative artist Eugène Grasset (1845-1917). At one time hunted to near extinction in America, very few wolves survived in Europe. Now, Man has become the Wolf and the Wolf  is the Lamb.

4 comments:

  1. DO YOU REALIZE THAT BY USING THE MYTHS AND ICONS WITH YOUR SIMPLE SUBJECTS CAUSES US TO DIG DOWN. THE OLD CLASSICS WERE MEANT TO PUSH US AROUND AND GET US OUT OF THE NORMAL; WE ARE ONLY ONE DOOR AWAY FROM THE ORDINARY TO THE NEXT EXISTENCE. MAY OUR MINDS BE BROAD AND WIDE, AND HUMBLE TOO.

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  2. Thank you Anon, I recently felt like the innocent lamb as victim to a tyrannical wolf but I am more caught by the image of innocent wolves being gunned down by tyrants in planes.

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  3. I am a great fan of wolves and the symbolism they carry. I had forgotten about that Gorey cover. Thank you...

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  4. It is so good to hear from you Mr. Bluehaunt. My father gave me The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as a child and the cover as well as the story have always been a favorite of mine. Best, Kendra

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