in the darker, more atavistic versions of Sleeping Beauty, the dormant castle is surrounded by an impenetrable wall of rose briars, with gigantic thorns that impale the hapless princes who try to push through to the interior in which the lovely princess lies in her enchanted coma.
The princes’ bodies hang on that monstrous rose hedge, decomposing until they are naught but skeletons. This image haunted me when I was young, as it still does now, being one of the most disturbing of a a whole series of folktales which emphasize not only the rose’s beauty, but also its danger—for below the smooth silk-plush blossoms, like spikes and thorns, jagged leaves, and pain. This is one of the reasons I believe the rose makes such a perfect symbol for love—a thing of great beauty as well as undeniable pain.
Dyptique’s l’ombre dans l’eau captures this dark green danger of the rose, I believe. It is not as menacing as a wall of gigantic malignant thorns, but it does explore the stems and leaves and vegetation lurking around the rosebud as much as the flower itself-the shadows and dampnesses, not the brilliances and . The addition of craggy and sharp blackcurrant leaves pushes it even further into Grimm territory.
I find that it opens very green and damp, then becomes somewhat fruity, all the while supporting the blowsy weight of a wet, bright Damask rose—
Somehow the combination of that intense rose and the intense greenness of the foliage surrounding it makes me think of this fragrance as a living rose spliced on top of Vent Vert…..
I am loving this today.
Henry Maynell Rheam’s sleeping beauty courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
thorn image from http://sensitivesaladventures.blogspot.com/
llustrationfrom Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé: Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye(1697). Gustave Doré's illustrations for Charles Perrault's La Belle au Bois Dormant. Courtesy of http://www.ac-amiens.fr/pedagogie/lettres/lycee/perrault/gravures.htm