Sandro Botticelli, The Temptation of Christ - detail

Page 15 – Plate III: the butterfly, the Princess, and the spider

by Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

Letitia’s artistic and drawing abilities were recognized and cultivated early in her life by her parents, Uncle Doug and Aunt Mary, all of whom ensured Letitia was enrolled in art classes at an early age, continuing through her education at Marlborough High School for young ladies, with formal training at Madame Collot’s completed during her nineteenth and twentieth years, whilst being presented abroad in Paris.

Letitia studied literature and art all through her life, beginning with these early studies and continuing on at UCLA in their writer’s program after WWII. She was well-versed in image composition, lighting, and illustrative metaphors. Again, she left no notes about her thoughts when creating Princess April Morning-Glory so all ideas offered here are speculation, but Letitia would have certainly studied the works of the great painter Sandro Botticelli. And, as a spiritual thinker and life-long student of the religions of the world, she would have paid special attention to Botticelli’s great fresco, immortalized on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Temptations of Christ.

Sandro Botticelli, via Wikimedia Commons (left) and the Temptation of Princess April Morning-Glory, by the Fairy Misery's spy spider (right)

Sandro Botticelli, via Wikimedia Commons (left) and the Temptation of Princess April Morning-Glory, by the Fairy Misery’s spy spider (right)

It’s the detail of the third temptation of Christ that caught my eye not too long ago, and made me think of Princess April’s defining moment with Fairy Misery’s spy spider. The image is compositionally similar: Christ and Princess April are depicted above and to the right of the devil/spider figure, and in each depiction, good and evil are separated by a physical boundary.

Until next week, dear readers….

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