helens_daughter (helens_daughter) wrote,

La Parisienne

The famous La Parisienne fresco fragment is part of the larger Campstool Fresco series found in the western part of the Knossos complex, in what might have been an area for common dining or ritual feasting.

Another example of recreating a fresco based on very few surviving fragments.

La Parisienne has distinctive white skin, painted lips, and coiffed hair that led that would have been right at home in turn-of-the-century Paris, thus her label.  The sacral knot at the nape of her neck indicates she is either a goddess or priestess.

What also strikes me about La Parisienne is her nose. In profile, she has quite a honker.  She doesn't have that typical Minoan profile with the more gently curved nose you see, for example, in the Saffron Goddess or other frescoes of Minoan women.  And with the women who people the Minoan frescoes, I always suspect that the artist is drawing on the faces of real individuals, so La Parisienne could have been an actual woman who lived over 3,000 years ago.

I'd relegated this observation to the back of my mind until last night when, watching FX's new series Taboo, I saw that same nose on actress Oona Chaplin.

Oona's quite lovely and distinctive, and I suspect she resembles La Parisienne.  She also reminds me of digital reconstructions of Cleopatra VII from the coinage.  Cleopatra has a rather unflattering profile, but from the front she has pleasing features.  La Parisienne might have looked like her, also.

Tags: artwork, cleopatra vii, frescoes, knossos, women
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