After The Giantess (The Guardian of the Egg) 1947
She is a Tarot priestess of Lughnasa, her hair a halo of ripened corn in a liminal world where sea and sky merge. She is a Byzantine icon inhabiting an Arcadian Mappa Mundi. She is Queen Elizabeth I who stands astride the globe. But this Faerie Queen treads lightly – she is a nurturing goddess, her ovoid body monumental, capacious her delicate hands cradling the world egg, made whole again after the devastation of a war in which Carrington saw her lover, Max Ernst incarcerated by the Gestapo. He escaped to America but her mind was shattered, and she was committed to an asylum in Spain. Created in egg tempura this is a painting influenced by nursery tales told by her Irish mother and nanny. The wild geese are not the mercenary soldiers of Irish history but harbingers from a world of myth and fairy stories which remained deep within her while she rejected her English upper middle-class background, Carrington found sanctuary and inspiration in Mexico finding kindred spirits in fellow refugees from the European Surrealist circle, including Remedios Varo and other women artists, who were reclaiming, creating and celebrating women as a source of power in painting and sculpture.
Edward James, art collector and Carrington's friend and patron wrote:
The paintings of Leonora Carrington are not merely painted. They are brewed. They sometimes seem to have materialised in a cauldron at the stroke of midnight.
Sue Mackrell is a poet, grandmother and gardener living in Leicestershire, U.K., and is of London-Welsh ancestry, Her poems and short stories have been published in literary magazines, anthologies and on the web, including in Agenda, and most recently Whirlagust III (Yaffle Press.) She has an MA in Creative Writing from Loughborough University and retirement from teaching there has given her more time to research and write about women whose stories have been lost, ignored, or concealed.
The Ekphrastic Review
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