Allegories are a classical theme in Art History. Even in Ancient Egypt we find female sculptures that represent provinces of the empire. From then on, the artists have caught concepts or ideas in the shape of human beings.
A curious question about allegories is that artists choose a male or a female to represent an allegory on depending the genre of the word that names the concept to be represented. In this case Spring is a femenine word in many languages, and because of it artists usually represent it by a woman.
It´s not new to represent allegories of Spring. Two very famous -and that undoubtly have influenced Moreira- are Boticelli’s famous painting “Spring”(1477-1482) and the illustration from The Seasons Series by Alphonse Mucha (1896). I think Moreira has caught inspiration from both but variations on the theme are notorious.
The first point is the figure of Spring. She is a young and beauty woman, half naked, showing her breasts. Her hair is black, just like her eyes. He is stand and the arms are in different positions, the right is drop and the left is bended touching the shoulder, both and the body draw a very femenine position.
The first thing that surprise me is the colour. Spring is usually represented in forests, with flowers and trees, with green as predominant colour. However, Moreira has chosen grey almost mauve and a plain background with a flowered cloudy sky. This is one key to interpretate the meaning of the painting, as we will se later. There is only an object of different colour: a blue butterfly landed on the head of the woman, as a hat, one of the attributes who identified her with Spring.
There’s another cryptic element: a grey flower located just in front the sex. It´s a sustitutive element. It could be a rose, most of all by the nailed stalk. This stalk is in fact a barbed wire, which is, as the colour, another significative element.
I personally think that this painting represents, much more than Spring, the condition of the woman looked by a dark perspective. He is talking about sexuality, but a dangerous sexuality, or better, a forbidden sexuality. Barbed wire talks about prison, you must cut it to arrive the sex. At the same time the sex is captured, is not free sex.
If you combine this idea of forbidden sex with the colour and the position and the look of the woman with butterfly hat –this means that she is a modern occidental woman-, it could mean prostitution, sado-masochism or other kind of sexual practices not tolerated by our society.
This is only my point of view. Look at “Primavera” and think about it.
More images from Raúl Moreira: