Nabokov's (Invented) Butterflies
Diaphanous Parnassian (Parnassius diaphanus) from Ada, or Ardor - Recto I
Watercolor and gouache on Arches
20 1/4 x 26 in
In Ada a "strange pale butterfly" is seen before the picnic at Ardis and, afterwards, the company is followed by a "pale diaphanous butterfly with a very black body […] closely related to a Japanese Parnassian." Nabokov's intended species name for this Parnassian remains unknown, but I have given this invented species the common name Diaphanous Parnassian, as it correlates with Nabokov's description and is very pleasing on the tongue.
In a private collection