Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
butterflies inspire artists on many levels. painters, dancers, musicians and writers have all dedicated works to their elegant beauty and delicate movement. beginning with the butterfly waltz by brian crain. although the piece is somewhat repetitive, it is altogether pleasant. i can imagine walking through an expansive meadow, humming, as i relish the plentitude of july and august butterflies.
although little is known about the significance of salvador dalí’s landscape with butterflies, they were present enough in his psyche to inspire this painting.
landscape with butterflies (click link to see dalí’s painting)
now, for a change of pace, i move to a chinese ballet/acrobatic performance, called butterfly lovers, that exquisitely captures the grace inspired by butterflies in fragrant fields.
vladamir nabakov, the famed russian novelist, literary analyst and part-time entymologistonce said, “a writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.” the author was passionate about the blue butterfly, went on yearly lepitopteral expeditions and wrote several essays that focused on… “the connection between art and the changing subtlety of these fragile insects.”
After the death of his mother in 1778, william wordsworth wrote “to a butterfly”. here is the poem (from the bartelby website):
STAY near me--do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father's family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:--with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
i love the ephemeral, yet nostalgic connection in this romantic poem, with the loss of his beloved mother and the transience of the species. and so ends this brief summer quartet, inspired by nature and interpreted though art.