JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 570
This simply irresistible, charmingly uncomfortable, and semi-surreal title is an excellent example of what I've come to know (and forget) in my career of doing whatever it is I'm doing. Generally though the thousand or so titles in my Naive Surreal collection belong to pamphlets and the occasional book, but the occasional advertisement makes its way into the fray. (None really come quite close to the work of the immortal Otto Fleiss, who produced America's greatest work on making art with fat, White Art in the Meat Food Business. A Practical Handbook for Butcher, Pork Stores, Restaurants, Hotels and Delicatessens on How to Make Lasting and Transferable White Art Decorations out of Bacon Fat Back for Window Displays, Ornaments on Meat Food Cold Buffets and for Exhibits and Advertising Purposes. Enrich yourself with Personal Knowledge. It is a toweringly fantabulous work, and is one of this blog's most-viewed posts.)
This ad is innocent enough: appearing in the 1 November 1943 issue of LIFE magazine, it was simply encouraging the modern housewife to go adventuring into cuts of meat that had been deemed unacceptable before rationing and the war, which brought about a meat drought. (The Brits had a far worse time--this issue of LIFE also contained a photo of a leggy London showgirl posing with a "real lemon" which was being raffled off to raise hundreds of pounds for the general welfare.)
I'm sorry to say that this image reminded me of an older, finer, more whimsical but far more damning and stern woodcut. The two aren't terribly-well related, I know, but as I shocked myself in being able to locate it I'm bound to use it now before it slips back into my misty print purgatory.
This image is probably the work of Georg Pencz and appeared in Hans Sachs' Nachred das grewlihc laster...published in Nuremberg in 1535 The booklet was a work directed against the evils of libel and lying and spreading rumor. Pencz' woodcut personified all of this wrapped up in the form of a vice-charmed woman.
The libel-charged rumor-mongre woman (watched from under a tree by a poet who is protected from her by a fellow with an imperial seal and stanchion) is outfitted with very feathery wings and a crowned seat on a collection of snakes. She carries a lidded pot, an offering of some sort, while she hides a knife behind her back with her other hand. She advances with a breast barred and another breast vut and bleeding, while she tugs along in her wake a ball and chain, which sets her traveled path on fire. All-in-all, Pencz paints a dismal picture of womanhood.
As I said, it has little to do with the original image of a Pioneer Meat Woman, but they sort of looked similar in my memory.