Easter and Art
In the fifties, to celebrate big events on the calendar, the magazine Tintin offered its readers superb covers designed by Hergé.
It should be noted that Tintin's father did not hesitate to offer the public remarkable original compositions. For Easter, we find our hero, surrounded by the main characters of the stories, in a picturesque setting of bright colours. Chickens, chocolate bunnies, multi-coloured eggs, pretty spring flowers; nothing is left out in the drawing. And of course, the Easter bells are part of it. Looking back, we can feel a little nostalgic for a time when everything seemed so simple, as "simple" as the clear line created by Hergé...
Did you know?
Eggs are also present in Tintin's adventures and not just for the hero's breakfast.
On page 20 of the album "The Black Island" in the 1942 French colour version, they are used with a touch of humour. Eggs appear in a series of frames featuring the brave English firefighters and a magpie. Revised in 1966, with the valuable help of Bob De Moor, the modernised redesign of this sequence kept its originality to the old one, with the exception of the firefighter’s uniforms and the fire engine, also elements of the set-up closer to the reality of the time. . .
It did not have the last word...
The magpie will begin its first hatchings in late March or early April, sometimes in May and very rarely in August. This is what would justify in The Black Island the scene where firefighters manage to recover the key to their garage in the nest of the bird. The operation is not done without collateral damage: two colleagues at the foot of the tree receive eggs on their helmeted heads. A sequence that takes place in summer, an apple tree garnished with red fruit confirms this later in the story, much to Snowy’s dismay. Hergé did not err in his presentation of the facts.
A bird with distinctive black and white plumage, tinged with metallic blue and green wing tips, makes a discreet appearance in the first frame of the album The Castafiore Emerald. But it is only in the last pages of the story that the bird reveals its true nature and that the reader discovers his involvement in the theft of the jewels of the diva. “La Gazza Ladra”…The Thieving Magpie!
Unlike in the The Black Island, it is not the firefighters who will seek to reach the nest of this thieving bird, but Tintin himself. With the borrowed equipment from the professional arborist-climber from the village Tintin cautiously climbs the tree. Taking care not to disturb the brood of the little thief to retrieve the gem, after all the goal was to find the emerald!
Hergé’s research for all this was thorough, taking the advice of Charles Van de Velde (arborist-climber) and getting the professional from the Wallon Brabant countryside to pose for him. All to give us a perfect presentation of Tintin climbing the tree!
The album The Castafiore Emerald pleased a French friend of Hergé, the philosopher, historian of science and man of letters Michel Serres. For this great intellectual, the narrative imagined by Hergé is a perfect example of the phenomenon of incommunicability between human beings, despite the multiplication of sophisticated means of ... communication!
“MUST” read or to reread books:
Hergé Coté Jardin by Dominique Maricq, Moulinsart Editions.