Rus Articles Journal

What mark was left by a flea in world culture? Picturesque and not only!

of Voshki and a flea beetle left marks not only in literature, but also in art life of mankind: in painting, jewelry, on porcelain, in music. We will be run on these spheres.

Naturally, artists both louses, and fleas bit too. And painters recouped the fact that they wrote a set of the cloths reflecting fight against fidgets. Gerhard Terborch, the artist of “The Golden Age of the Dutch painting“, devoted to process of eradication of fleas at least two pictures.

... The boy put aside lessons and now looks for fleas who disturb his dog. His face expresses extreme concern: probably, it does not manage to crush the fidget.

One more picture of Terborch: mother looks for louses at the daughter. There is no such intensity, more and more quietly. Mother is able to do it better than the boy, any louse will not escape it.

Adrian van Ostade - too from a group of the Dutch artists - represented the same hunting for louses, just in absolutely insanitary conditions, in a barn. For some reason a picture the artist called “Sight“. Probably, not to offend feeling of cultural people who will consider it, on the one hand, and with another - as if hints that weak-sighted never to find a louse.

One more artist, too from “The Golden Age of the Dutch painting“, Peter de Hokh drew mother behind search of louses.

These and a set of other pictures recorded process of catching of fleas and louses in different positions and in different degree of nakedness of hunters for blood-suckers (for some reason men behind such occupation meet very seldom). Also there are some more cloths on which this catching is, if I may say so, automated.

There was such period in the late Middle Ages when blokholovka - boxes with cuts in which put something attractive to fleas became fashionable (for example, honey, fragrant substances). Besides, used fur which attracted fleas and louses: ermine, sable, marten. And as this subject was accessory of the elite, it began to develop as if in itself. If on a portrait of 1560 only the skin of a sable is visible, then on later cloths clearly it is visible where conducted love to luxury.

For fight with biting and sucking clever people guessed to do something like traps. They were folding, inside placed a bait - and so carried. Ladies hid these blokholovka in hairdresses, the benefit the place on the head allowed to make it (here from where the name of a hairdress “a lousy lodge“!) .

Except usual blokholovka there were also jars for fleas, some kind of terrariums. That is the flea was allowed to live there. Experts write that among lady`s men such entertainment was popular: to catch a flea on the mistress`s body, to place it in this jar and to carry with itself. Possibly, gentlemen even bragged of the fleas (and mistresses full of fleas). If the flea died - she should be replaced in just the same way: to catch on a desire subject body.

(History did not inform us how loveful public understood breeds blood-sicking. What of them - a flea, a louse clothes, a louse head or a louse pubic - was looked for and caught by sophisticated lovers, it is unknown.)

We will return to the picturesque image of blokholovka. Wild beasts skins with thin fur were for fleas the ideal dwelling. The nobility decorated these skins and as jewelers exercised the wit! Though all this trick was indifferent for little vampires. Gold, enamel, jewels, pearls! Here, really, for dear friend it is a pity for nothing!

Voshki - flea beetles did not remain unattended also potters. That is not absolutely potters - porcelain affairs of masters. Naturally, they represented in porcelain of ladies. Naturally, behind not really pleasant occupation - catching of fleas. Naturally, in hard-to-reach spots. And here what from this turned out: a figure with a secret. It seems as when it costs on the basis, all as usual. But if to turn it and to look at a bottom - that to us opens! Snow-white skin on which the sting trace reddens. Here where it, culprit of inconveniences!

The flea left a mark and in music. Very first that occurs, - the national song about a flea:

Once upon a time there was one flea,

She to treat it was dashing,

Five flies healed and five mosquitoes,

Yes five cockroaches and five spiders.

The flea was not lazy,

Everything is pure in the house swept,

Put to be heated a big samovar,

Itself jumped on a market rather.


the Song long, as if a mold from human life: bought pretzels, makhorka for the husband... For now was not at home it hungry a bloshata started to yell, fleas (the husband of a flea) began to thrash them...

On strange combination of circumstances this national song was very popular in amateur performances. And it was broadcast almost also often as Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky`s song “Flea“ performed by Fedor Ivanovich Shalyapin.

The latest event from musical life of fleas - Rodion Shchedrin`s opera “Lefthander“ in which the flea sings.

Rodion Shchedrin is not the first composer who sounded a flea. Also Yury Aleksandrovich Shaporin (1887-1966) composition “The humorous suite “Flea““ written in 1928 is known. The suite was written to Zamyatin`s play on Leskov`s “Lefthander“.

Be continued.