Every time I work on a book, I spend almost as much time looking for evocative images as I do the right word or phrase. I never know exactly where I will find them -- though heaven knows, Pinterest has provided me with much joy recently. And I now keep all the found images from my past (when I used to spend the day collecting xeroxes from the Art section of the University Library) and the newer ones now available in internet searches on my pinterest boards, instead of yellowing and cracking on my bulletin board. (See the full photograph of this pair here.)
Here are two favorites -- These were part of an article on a fashion shoot, photographed by Annie Leibovitz and featuring a young designer, Matthew Barney who created a myth-inspired event with these remarkable satyrs. The first time I saw them, I had only just finished introducing the satyrs in my novel of 16th century Italy, The Innamorati, and my head and heart jolted at the familiarity of what I had written and what I was seeing in a fashion magazine in a doctor's waiting room. Here's how they first appeared in the novel when the young heroine Zizola discovers herself pulled into the thickets of the great maze and carried away by a rough crew of satyrs:
"...Her head was bouncing up and down, but she couldn't help noticing that the abductor was only partially man, naked to the waist and flocked with patches of light brown hair. Below the small of his back the smooth skin became a pelt of shaggy brown fur. A short, scraggly tail flicked with excitement and two long spindly legs terminatng in black hooves cut deep grooves in the dirt as he ran...Following close behind her captor were three other creatures, prepared Zizola thought, to relive this one if she prove too heavy. Their faces were squat and ugly, with protruding wide brows that hung like balconies over their deep-set yellow eyes. Horns burst through the skin of their forehead and curled back over short manes of thick hair. Their noses were lumpy and their lips were thick and red..."
Only later, when the satyrs at last put her down, kicking and complaining and very afraid of them, does Zizola realize that their intention is not to harm her, but to care for and protect her -- an unexpected opportunity for a girl who has grown up in poverty on the streets of Labyrinto. What was fearsome about them, becomes comforting as she is drawn into the wildness of the maze.
"They gathered around her, their bodies close and pressing. She felt the warm breath of one on the nape of her neck, the touch of another on her hair. Even the one she had scratched caressed her shoulder. The largest satyr took her hand and turning it over, kissed the palm. He looked down, his yellow eyes gazing at her from beneath heavy brows...For all their wildness, their hands were soft. She was captivated by the ivory sheen of their curling horns and the pomegranate redness of their lips. Even their musky scent had a certain forest charm to it that she found more tolerable than the sour breath of drunks in the street. "