Welcome to the first stop on the official Of Poseidon Blog Tour! As an early reader, I’ve been spreading the word about this wonderfully entertaining novel to everyone I know, and I’m so excited to be part of this tour.
Today, author Anna Banks stops by to talk about the numerous depictions of mermaids in art. Despite the uncertainty of their existence, mermaids have continued to captivate people the world over. The visual media ranges from paintings to sculptures and each piece of art tells the story of an undying fascination with the sea and its mysteries. Take it away, Anna!
Mermaids A La Art
Okay, so when I was doing research for this guest post, I figured I’d dissect some old school paintings of mermaids, make fun of a few, and call it a day (because yes, I’m that mature). Well, I still might do that a little, but I want to point out something important first. Something that bothered me a little.
So. I Googled “Mermaid paintings” and “Mermaid art”. All the old reliables pulled up. You know what I’m talking about. Lovely mermaids with long flowing hair and elegant fins who are perched on sea rocks luring fishermen to a most pleasant death. Kind of like this very famous painting, A Mermaid (John William Waterhouse).
The thing that bothered me was: All the mermaids readily Google-able were European-looking. Not that this painting is not beautiful and the mermaid is not glorious. It is. She is. I even love that she doesn’t have a perfect body, that it’s a realistic build. There’s beauty in that.
And it’s not that Europeans didn’t spot them some mermaids from time to time. Even Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen three mermaids. But from his description, he wasn’t very impressed, because they “were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like a man.” (May propose this: It could have very well been a merman? And also: Duh.)
But scientifically, not all mermaids could be like the painting above, right? You see, there are many different kinds of people from many different places on earth. There are many different kinds of fish from many different parts of the ocean. It would be reasonable to assume then that there are many different kinds of mermaids as well, yes? And if so, surely these many different kinds of people have seen mermaids in their many different places on earth, right? Right???
The answer is yes. Mermaids have been sighted everywhere, apparently. And here are some of my favorite depictions of non-European-looking mermaids:
Africa has the Mami Wata, or Mother of Waters, pictured above. They believe her to be a water spirit. Pictured below is another rendition of her in wood sculpture form, called Dona Fish, created circa 1950-1960, originating from the Ovimbundu peoples. Cool, huh?
Even the Japanese have their version of mermaids. In fact, a very famous ”mermaid” is thought to have originated from the Japanese, who perfected the art of sewing the torso of a monkey to the bottom half of a fish. Below is the famous Banff Merman, fashioned in this art style and on display at the Indian Trading Post:
So what is the point of all this? Of course, it is to prove that mermaids are real. They have
to be. Everyone, everywhere has seen them. Even ones with buttcracks, apparently (sorry,
couldn’t help myself):
Thanks Anna! My own favourite depiction of mermaids isn’t exactly classical art, but it’s absolutely breathtaking, and hearkens back to the original legend of The Little Mermaid:
Want more Of Poseidon? Comment below or on my review of the book with your email address and/or Twitter handle to win a finished copy or an audiobook! I’ll be picking winners at the end of the tour. (US/Canada only)
Tuesday, May 22: Two Chicks on Books
Wednesday, May 23: Live To Read
Thursday, May 24: Jana The Book Goddess
Friday, May 25: Moonlight Book Reviews
Saturday, May 26: A Cupcake and a Latte
Sunday, May 27: YA Sisterhood
Monday, May 28: Into the Hall of Books
Tuesday, May 29: The Book Cellar
Wednesday, May 30: Bookalicious
Thursday, May 31: Good Choice Reading
Friday, June 1: Pretty Deadly Reviews
Saturday, June 2: That Artsy Reader Girl
Watch the beautiful trailer:
Anna Banks grew up in a small town called Niceville (yes, really). She now lives in Crestview, Florida, with her husband and their daughter. Of Poseidon is her debut novel.