A Mystery, Solved: Maria Germanova Comes Home


Today I am a little bit weepy. Folks who have been internet-friends with me for a long time may recognize this glamorous dame, whose eerie, enigmatic visage was a substitute avatar for my own face for many years, in many online haunts, because I was too timid to use my own.

I first found the image on Netflix, in 2006. A thumbnail sized mystery upon which I immediately fixated, deeply fascinated. I sought its source for years and had almost given up, when, in 2009 I found her in the @nypl digital archives and discovered her name: Maria Germanova, of the Moscow Art Theatre. This fantastical image is from The Blue Bird, (L’Oiseau bleu ), a 1908 play by Maurice Maeterlinck, in which she portrayed (what I can only assume) is Russia’s most outrageously gorgeous witch. You can read about my discovery over on ye olde tumblr.

When I learned that I could buy a print of my beloved sorceress, I was over the moon, my heart was glad to bursting! But then, friends, at the height of my raptures, tragedy struck, when I realized that I could no longer find her on the website. A melancholy madness took hold. Or, if we’re reigning in the melodrama a bit, I got a case of the mopes for several months. Just last week, though, Jess at bloodmilk came to the rescue and found her for me again (thank you!) and I placed an order for an archival print right away. I wasn’t going to let her get away this time! And now, here she is, and we shall never be parted. Stately and dignified with a bunch of books on top of her. Just like I treat all of my loved ones.

4 Comments on A Mystery, Solved: Maria Germanova Comes Home

  1. Theodora
    January 9, 2018 at 11:50 am (2 months ago)

    Gosh its a beautiful picture. Ethereal and haunting.

  2. CM
    January 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm (2 months ago)

    What a beautiful print! I’ve never heard about Maria Germanova before, but in that picture she is truly a fascinating woman (:

    CM | XIII.

  3. Laura
    March 23, 2018 at 12:15 pm (19 hours ago)

    I discovered this photo about three years ago when I did a simple google image search of the word “bohemian”. I too was captivated, enough to sketch it. I had always wondered where it came from and what the backstory was about it, so thank you so much for this!!! I’m also overjoyed!

    I am wondering though, after google searches, I see it said both that she is a fairy, and that she is a witch. Can you tell me which one it is? I’d really like to know more about it – like what does the caption, that’s in Russian I assume, say? Are there any old silent films to watch of this stage production? I’m truly captivated. From what I’ve seen -that is, photos of the play, it seems it was fairly elaborate. Wish I could have been there to see it performed.

    Thanks again for your sharing of this. You were not the only one out there taken by this image! So happy to have stumbled upon your website today!

    • S. Elizabeth
      March 23, 2018 at 12:52 pm (19 hours ago)

      I’ve always been a little confused on that point, too! But I think most places refer to her as a fairy (The fairy Berylune? I think) I am guilty of referring to her as a witch but I should have specified that’s just what I see, personally, when I look at her! Have you checked out her wiki page? You can get a better idea of how she looks without all that crazy costumery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Germanova. I sure wish this page was as up to date as it is today, when I was trying to find her!


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