It gladdens my scarab to see from my site stats that I’ve had a number of visitors land here through a Google Image search for single rose. Having just tried this search myself, it’s apparent that anyone arriving at the Shoreline via this route must have waded through many pages of results before alighting on this post of mine and its accompanying lead image. It appears that these visitors are looking for an image a little less ordinary than those which make up the vast majority of the results on Google. This is understandable, as those are mostly sugary, and indeed cheesy- a particularly emetic flavour combination.
So, as a public service, I present here three images of single roses, for all who wish to feast their eyes and imagination on something a little more nourishing than the Interflora catalogue. Those searching for rose images to send to a love interest should find that these will strike the appropriate chord in the bosom of the recipient.
We begin with the Flemish engraver and printer Johann Theodor de Bry, or possibly a follower of his. An alchemical emblem from the early 17th century. The Latin translates as The rose gives honey to the bees, the bees being seekers after truth who come to drink the nectar of the Divine, symbolised by the rose.
Our second image is equally remarkable and striking, and will surely stir the heart of all who regard it:
Rose Brain by Turkish photographer Nazif Topcuoglu, found via Foxes In Breeches (some NSFW content at that link, and I predict that, as a result of my saying that, it will now become the most-clicked link on this blog to date). The photographer specialises in lavish reconstructions of bygone eras, and this is apparently a recreation of a Roman dish. I cannot vouch for its historical accuracy, but I note that this Roman Cookery page does have a tasty-sounding recipe for rosehip and calf’s brain custard.
Finally, we have something from that scoundrel Dali:
This seems to be variously titled Rosa Meditiva or simply The Rose, and is from 1958, long after his split with Breton and Surrealism, at a time when he was proclaiming himself more inspired by science and its discoveries than by the autopsychedelic paranoiac-critical method of his younger days. Heisenberg, he said, had replaced Freud as his creative ‘father’. The image showcases his extraordinary draftsmanship, with the rose echoing the lotus of Eastern iconography. The two tiny figures under it introduce nuances of meaning: are they lovers? Perhaps they are creating the rose, and basking in its radiance. Yet there is human frailty here too: the pair seem so terribly vulnerable, utterly dwarfed- perhaps even imperilled- by the magnitude of Love.
The wholeness which is a combination of ‘I and you’ is part of a transcendent unity whose nature can only be grasped in symbols like the rose
In the driest white stretch of pain’s infinite desert, I lost my sanity and found this rose.