I was hunting public domain zombie silhouettes for the cover of Giovanni Goes To Med School when I came across these images of fairies. While I don’t ascribe to the theory of fairies as delicate, wee beings, these are lovely silhouettes, called the ‘Divine Youth’ series, dated 1911.
Their creator is Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach. He was a sort-of hippie guru who painted very dark paintings of mythology and lived in communes devoted to nature and helping others. This was partly a search for self and partly a reaction to the late 1800s decline and eventual collapse of the great ruling dynasties of Europe, contributing to the social unrest that culminated in World War I.
I had a little trouble researching Karl because I don’t read German, so please, weigh in if you know more about this enigmatic artist!