about : naiades
« Nymphaeaceae » In Ancient Greece, Naiads or water-nymphs, were associated
with the white water lily, Nymphaeaceae, symbolizing modesty. Naiad derives
from the Greek ‘to flow’ or ‘Flowing One’. Water-nymphs were bound to the
freshwater streams, springs, wells, rivers, lakes and marshes where they were
born. They were minor goddesses, extremely long-lived – Plutarch suggested
9,720 years – but unlike gods, they were not immortal. Their waters were
thought to have medicinal, divination and prophetic powers. If their waters were
pure, strong and clear, they remained young and beautiful; if weak or impure,
their strength, beauty and vitality faded and unless they married mortals, they
died. When mortals were respectful and sincere, Naiads were friendly and
benevolent, however if betrayed, they could be extremely vengeful.
There are many references to Naiad-nymphs in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey,
also in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Naiad Castalia features in Hermann Hesse's
novel The Glass Bead Game. Written in the 1930s, Hesse took the name of this
Naiad as inspiration for an elite group of scholar / philosophers, The Castilian
Order, who are active in a far distant future. Although the Game is not described
in detail, leaving much to the imagination, the novel left a lasting impression
on me as a student at art college.
In painting, when you think of water lilies, one artist in particular stands
out — Monet and the beautiful paintings of the water lilies, les Nénuphars de L'eau,
in his garden at Giverney. Whilst Monet’s paintings do not reference the mythical
qualities of the flower, artists inspired by the Naiad myths include John William
Waterhouse (1849–1917) in his painting Hylas and the Nymphs and Nicolas Poussin
(1594–1665) who explored the physical and psychological tensions in the myth of
Apollo and Daphne: 'a meditation on the impossibility of love, the tricks destiny
plays, and the brevity of human life as opposed to the permanence of nature'
The « Naiades » were photographed in the gardens of the Château de Pommard, one of the
oldest and most beautiful wine estates in Burgundy. Pommard's Pinot Noir vines were first
planted by Benedictine monks in 909 AD when the village was called Polmarium. Recent
studies have concluded that the original wine-makers of France were descendants of Greek
explorers who settled in southern France around 600 BC.