The Magazine

Spring, 1896, Page: 19

Image Dimensions: 31.3 x 20.8 cms

Page Dimensions: 32 x 25.5 cms


Title: Winter

Date: 1896

Inscription: Drawing, pencil and watercolour on tracing paper, 31.3 x 20.8 cm, attached to page of grey paper, inscribed, signed and dated vertically, right “WINTER CHAS R MACKINTOSH– 1895.”

Keywords: seasons; winter; figures; women; plants; symbolism; art nouveau

Material: Pencil and watercolour

Commentary: The two female figures appear to be asleep. They have no colour and can be seen as hidden beneath the black earth but with their arms raised and fists clenched in anticipation of future effort when the Spring appears. The green plant form between them and the red circle, which probably represents the sun, are also hidden under the earth awaiting the Spring. Another similar design, intended for The Magazine, but now untraced, was entitled ‘Spring’. [illustration] It shows the figures arousing themselves from sleep with the sun and a plant form just emerging above the horizon. The source for Mackintosh’s female figures in both drawings was a depiction of Venus by the French artist, Alexandre Cabanel (1823–1889) in his painting, The Birth of Venus (1863) (Musee D’Orsay, Paris) which Mackintosh had probably seen in Paris in 1891. He had previously used the figure as a cloud form in his 1892 watercolour, The Harvest Moon (Glasgow School of Art) and in his design for a clock face for the tower of Glasgow’s Canal Boatmen’s Institute of 1891–3.