Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Typologies of Santa

I've been snooping around inside the collection Full-Color Decorative Christmas Illustrations (048699967X); there's a lot of different motifs in this collection: angels, holly, children—but the motif nonpareil is definitely Santa.

When confronted with the kind of diversity that this collection presents, I slip into long-standing behavior patterns—I sort. I can't resist it, I'm a born taxonomist. The first thing that you notice is that there's some really differently colored Santas: that just isn't what I was raised with—Santa dressed in red. Period. Check out these images from the collection:

I kind of like the white one; it's second best to red. The green is a little 'elfish' to my eyes—more of a 'staff' than 'management' look. I don't know what to make of the blue.

Next, I noticed some images that seemed to be 'cousins' of one another. If it were a little more self-conscious it'd be like a visual rap song from the 19th century. (Hmmmm, bit of a stretch there ....nevermind.)

And then we have the 'repetitive motif', the most prevalent of which (after Santa Carrying Presents) is Santa Carrying Christmas Tree.  Similar to the color variations, this isn't really one of the Christmas motifs I remember from my childhood. That's not to say I don't like it. I do. I'm becoming a real connoisseur of all the nuances—you know: tree right/tree left, gloves/mittens, decorated tree/bare tree, snow/no snow, relative beard length.... I could go on. Anyway, check these guys out:

The variation in Santa's facial expressions is a constant source surprise and delight. Here's a nice study in contrast—I think that the Santa on the right probably needs to take a couple of deep breaths....Santa on the left is doing just fine...

Here's another. This one begs a Reddit meme....

And finally, is it just me or does Santa look like he's on the verge of exhaustion? Check out the eyes...

1 comment:

  1. this must be my favorite amongst the Christmas clipart.
    I completely agree that variations (subtle and bold) of the santas is wonderful!!!!!
    I think I relive my childhood - only in a vintage edition, lol - with these images. so pleasing to the eye. everything old is new again ..... :)