A Minnesotan winter is upon us. You know what that means, hot chocolate, snowball fights, and of course lots of snowmen. When the snow finally sticks it’s what kids like to do. All you have to do is grab some rocks and a few sticks and you’re set.
Building snowman spread as a trend, it was a fun idea to do in the snow. But do you ever think who’s idea was it that started the creation of the snowman?
If we want to go way back, we can go all the way back to 1380. In 1380, Bob Eckstein uncovered the snowman in his book, History of the Snowman. Eckstein believes however that the first “man of snow” was discovered in the medieval Book of Hours from 1380. It is the earliest known depiction of what a snowman could be. In that book is the first illustration of a snowman.
Some 473 years later, in 1853, a woman by the name of Mary Dillwyn took the first photograph of a snowman. It’s now in the collections of the National Library of Wales.
When they were discovered, snowmen became a phenomenon in the Middle Ages. Snowman used to be made with much thought and skill. They were used to express thoughts and ideas. Snow was free art supplies that fell from the clouds. It became a popular activity and people became famous for sculpting snowmen.
In 1494, a 19-year-old Michelangelo, was asked to sculpt snowman for the ruler of Florence, Italy in the backyard of his mansion.
In the 16th century, there was a snowman festival called the Miracle of 1511. It’s where Belgians filled land with over 100 snowman doing various acts. They were made as a political cartoon which was used to comment on the bad class system of their current era.
Later, in 1870, the French National Guard wanted to make a monument for their independence. With the leadership of Alexandre Falguiere, the men built a 9-foot tall snow women. After it melted it became a national symbol.
The snowman has a long history. Now, instead of them being used as political statements, they are used for child’s play where children like to get out in the snow and make a happy snowman for fun.