I've just read a few paragraphs in a police procedural book about a tree - to me, a wonderful description.
I'll quote it here (see below).
At the same time, the author alluded quickly to Gustav Dore.
All this makes me want to collate literary tree descriptions and various tree drawings or paintings.
I'll start with this one, hope others join in.
The book I'm reading: Excursion to Tindari, by Andrea Camilleri
The tree description, see p. 90:
quote, typed from the book -
"Exactly halfway between the two towns was a little country road, hidden behind a billboard, which led to a ramshackle rustic cottage, behind which stood an enormous Saracen olive tree that was easily two hundred years old. It looked like a fake tree, a stage prop, something out of the imagination of Gustave Dore, perhaps an illustration for Dante's Inferno
. The lowest branches dragged and twisted along the ground, unable, try as they might, to hoist themselves skyward, and thus at a certain point of their progress they reconsidered their effort and decided to turn back towards the trunk, creating a kind of elbowlike bend or, in some cases, an out-and-out knot. Shortly thereafter, however, they changed their minds and turned around again , as if frightened at the sight of the powerful though pocked, burnt, time-wrinkled trunk. And in turning around, the branches took a different direction from the one before. They looked just like vipers, pythons, boas, and anacondas that had suddenly metamorphosed into olive branches. And they seemed to despair, forever damned by the sorcery that had frozen them --- "chrystallized" them, the poet Montale might have said --- in an eternity of tragic, impossible flight. The middle branches, having reached more or less on meter in length, were immediately beset by doubt as to whether they should head skyward or turn earthward to rejoin the roots. "
Alas, my premise is shot, in that I can't immediately find a photo of a Dore illustration of Dante that works re an ancient olive tree.
So, I'll look around for other possible connections ..
Here's a photo of a 1500 yr old olive tree in Greece -
Twin olives in guache -
Olive tree drawing..
I can't immediately tell from the link who did that drawing. It remind's me somewhat of a Kay Harden ink drawing but I doubt it's by her; elegant in any case.