Arts and Gardens

The Flower and the Bee

The flower and the bee. Who has not heard this metaphor of fertilization? The painting Socrates and Xantippe is clearly a play on the model of the flower and the bee. But Laurie Grundt has also given Xantippe large, sharp thorns.

Laurie Grundt: Sokrates og Xantippe, 1997.
Laurie Grundt: Sokrates og Xantippe, 1997.
Alf E. Andresen

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Socrates in Grundt’s version bears no great resemblance to his traditional Greek representations. He is lanky and thin, not unlike Grundt himself. Both Socrates and Xantippe are naked, but Socrates holds a worn sandal in the hand that he reaches out to his wife.

Xantippe's skin is greenish, the leaves protruding in all directions. The flowers are strategically placed to emphasize her femininity. Socrates is virtually covered with large bees; they are crawling on his body.

Xantippe was known for her fierce temper, and it is said that she was the only one that ever won a debate with Socrates. In this representation of the two, that is not hard to believe. Her thorns do appear to be more fearsome than Socrates’s bees.

Laurie Grundt (1923-) is as famous for his life in the district of Christiania in Copenhagen, as for his monumental, colorful paintings. He is interested in the human body, especially the female, and often takes his motifs from nature.