Great Art - Mythology in Contemporary Art

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015

M Y T H O L O G Y

The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body of myths.
For example, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece.
In the academic field of folkloristics, a myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form.
Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways.
In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story.
The main characters in myths are usually gods, supernatural heroes and humans.
As sacred stories, myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests and closely linked to religion or spirituality.
In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past.
Myths generally take place in a primordial age, when the world had not yet achieved its current form, and explain how the world gained its current form and how customs, institutions and taboos were established.
Artists have frequently used the contents of myths as vehicles for the depiction of dramatic or idealised scenes, often featuring nude figures.
Western art, of course, is dominated by the mythologies of Greece and Rome.






© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

'Apollo and the Nine Muses'
(adapted from a mural by John Sargent)

for the full story, and many more images, go to:


'CASTOR  AND  POLLUX'
André Durand

Castor and Pollux were the Gemini (twin) brothers in Roman mythology, taken from Greek Mythology, where they are collectively known as the Dioskouroi.
Their mother was Leda but they had different fathers, Sparta's King Tyndareus and the god Zeus, respectively.
They were brothers to Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra, and the half-brothers of Timandra, Phoebe, Heracles, and Philonoe.
They are known collectively in Greek as the 'Dioscuri' - "sons of Zeus") and in Latin as the Gemini (twins).
In the myth, the twins shared the same mother but had different fathers (immortal Zeus and mortal Tyndareus), which meant that Pollux was immortal and Castor was mortal. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together and they were transformed into the Gemini constellation.

André Durand (born Ottawa,Canada 1947) is a painter working in the European Hermetic tradition.
He is influenced by artists such as Rubens, Titian, Michelangelo and Velázquez.
Although Durand is perhaps best known for his allegorical portraits, he achieved international artistic acclaim for his official portraits.
In 1970 Durand painted a series of pictures inspired by the dancers of the Royal Ballet. It is nevertheless Durand's extraordinary mythological narratives that demonstrate his profound understanding of the myths andrituals of both Classical and Christian traditions. These are an ever-present undercurrent of his work.



'CUPID  COOLING'
André Durand



'GANYMEDE'
André Durand



'HERMES AND HECATE'
André Durand



'ARGONAUT' - 1982
(Αργοναύτης)
André Durand

The Argonauts were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis (ancient Georgian Kingdom) in his quest to find the Golden Fleece.
Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means "Argo sailors".
They were sometimes called Minyans, after a prehistoric tribe of the area.



'THE ARGONAUTS'
Κωνσταντίνος Βολανάκης
(Konstantinos Volanaki)

Konstantinos Volanakis or Volonakis (Heraklion, Crete, 1837- d. 29 June 1907) was a Greek painter, considered one of the best of the 19th century.
Born to a wealthy family, he went to Trieste, Italy, in 1856 where he took up painting.
He studied in the Munich Academy.
He is one of the foremost representatives of the Munich School, a Greek artistic movement of the 19th century.
Michalis Oikonomou, another Greek painter, was one of his pupils.
He died in 1907. His works are today exhibited in major museums in Greece and abroad.


© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016


'Petronius as Apollo'


for the full story, and many more images, go to:


'ECHO  and  NARCISSUS'




FALLEN IDOLS
Carel Willink

Albert Carel Willink (7 March 1900 – 19 October 1983) was a well known Dutch painter who called his style of Magic realism "imaginary realism".
Willink was born in Amsterdam, the eldest son of the mechanic Jan Willink and Wilhelmina Altes. His father was an amateur artist who encouraged his son to paint.
After briefly studying medicine, in 1918-19 Willink studied architecture at the Technische Hogeschool in Delft. Afterwards he left for Germany, where he failed to get into the academy in Düsseldorf. He later studied for a short time at the Staatliche Hochschule in Berlin.
Willink's earliest paintings were in an expressionist manner, although he also painted abstract works at the time that he exhibited with the November group in 1923.
By 1924 he had adopted a figurative style influenced by Picasso's neoclassical paintings of the early 1920s, and especially by Léger. Later in the decade, Willink developed a magic realist style related to the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico.
From 1935 until his death Willink lived in Amsterdam.
His realistically rendered paintings frequently depict slightly disquieting scenes taking place in front of imposing buildings.
He also painted many portraits.




THE ABYSS
Carel Willink




'PROMETHEUS BOUND' - 1994

E. Russell





'ANCIENT CONTESTS'

James Childs
for more of Jame's photos see
http://www.jameschilds.com/



'GANYMEDE'
James Childs



© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

'The Rape of Ganymede'

for the full story go to: The Story of Gracchus



Ἴκαρος 
'YOUNG  ICARUS'
Bryan Larsen

In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus.
The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax.
He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death.
The myth shares thematic similarities with that of Phaëton, and is often depicted in art.





Ἴκαρος
'FALLEN ICARUS' (1998)
Neil Moore (1950)

In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. 
The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax.
He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death. 
he myth shares thematic similarities with that of Phaëton — both are usually taken as tragic examples of hubris or failed ambition — and is often depicted in art. 



'PROMETHEUS'
Maurice Heerdink





LAOCOON
Maurice Heerdink


'SALMACE  E  ERMAFRODITO'
(triptique)
Roberto Ferri


Roberto Ferri (born 1978) is an Italian artist and painter from Taranto, Italy.
Deeply inspired by Baroque painters (Caravaggio in particular) and other old masters of Romanticism, the Academy, and Symbolism.
In 1996, he graduated from the Liceo Artistico Lisippo Taranto, a local art school in his hometown.
He began to study painting on his own and moved to Rome in 1999, to increase research on ancient painting, beginning at the end of the sixteenth century, in particular.
In 2006, he graduated with honors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.
His work is represented in important private collections in Rome, Milan, London, Paris, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Miami, San Antonio (Texas), Qatar, Dublin, Boston, Malta, and the Castle of Menerbes in Provence.

'SALMACE  E  ERMAFRODITO'
(triptique)
Roberto Ferri





'SALMACE  E  ERMAFRODITO' - (Detail)
(triptique)
Roberto Ferri


'SALMACE  E  ERMAFRODITO' - (Detail)
(triptique)
Roberto Ferri





'SAGITTARIUS'

Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Sagittarius.
Sagittarius is considered a "masculine",positive (extrovert) sign. It is also a fire sign and one of the four mutable signs.
Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter, and individuals born when the sun was in this sign are considered Sagittarius individuals.
In Greek mythology, Sagittarius is identified as a centaur: half human, half horse.
In some legends, the Centaur Chiron was the son of Philyra and Saturn, who said to have changed himself into a horse to escape his jealous wife, Rhea.
Chiron was eventually immortalized in the constellation of Centaurus or Sagittarius.




'PERSEUS'



'YOUNG ICARUS DROWNING'




'HEAVENLLY STAR SPANGLED NIGHT'
Peter Crawford

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014





Θάνατος
(THANATOS)
Vittorio Carvelli


In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the daemon personification of death.
He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person.
His name is transliterated in Latin as Thanatus, but his equivalent in Roman mythology is Mors.
In later eras, as the transition from life to death in Elysium became a more attractive option, Thanatos came to be seen as a beautiful Ephebe (see above).
He became associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise.
Many Roman sarcophagi depict him as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid - Eros with crossed legs and torch reversed became the commonest of all symbols for Death.
Thanatos has also been portrayed as a slumbering infant in the arms of his mother Nyx, or as a youth carrying a butterfly (the ancient Greek word "ψυχή" can mean soul or butterfly, or life, amongst other things) or a wreath of poppies (poppies were associated with Hypnos and Thanatos because of their hypnogogic traits and the eventual death engendered by overexposure to them).
He is often shown carrying an inverted torch (holding it upside down in his hands), representing a life extinguished.
In Euripides' Alcestis (438 BCE), he is depicted dressed in black and carrying a sword.




'Pete as the God Cupid'
Zac Sawyer

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015


In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection.

He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, and is known in Latin also as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Ἔρως (Eros) - meaning 'desire'. In Greek mythology Ἔρως is one of the primordial gods, involved in the coming into being of the cosmos. According to Hesiod (c. 700 BC), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros (the god of love) was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld).
Although Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.
In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion. He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love.
Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as "Love conquers all" and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid.
The story of 'Cupid and Psyche' appears in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC, but the most extended literary source of the tale is the Latin novel 'Metamorphoses', also known as 'The Golden Ass', by Apuleius (2nd century AD). It concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche ("Soul" or "Breath of Life") and Cupid, and their ultimate union in marriage.
In both ancient and later art, Cupid is often shown riding a dolphin.



'Pete as the God Pan'

Zac Sawyer

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015




'Dionysus'
Zac Sawyer


© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015

Dionysus (Διόνυσος - the Roman Bacchus) is the god of the grape harvest, wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Alcohol, especially wine, played an important role in Greek culture with Dionysus being an important reason for this life style. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre (see Nietzsche). Also known as Bacchus (Greek - Βάκχος), the name adopted by the Romans and related to the frenzy he induces,- 'bakkheia'.
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In their final phase the Mysteries shifted their emphasis from a chthonic, underworld orientation to a transcendental, mystical one, with Dionysus changing his nature accordingly. By its nature as a mystery religion reserved for the initiated, many aspects of the Dionysian cult remain unknown and were lost with the decline of Greco-Roman civilisation; our knowledge is derived from descriptions, imagery and cross-cultural studies.

for more information and images see:



'Apollo'
Zac Sawyer

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015

Apollo ( Ἀπόλλων - Latin: Apollō) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis.
Delphi - Apollo is particularly known for his oracle at Delphi - in Greece. Apollo spoke through his oracle: the sibyl or priestess of the oracle who was known as the Pythia; she had to be an older woman of blameless life chosen from among the peasants of the area. She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth (the "chasm"). When Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, according to legend, and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the sibyl would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied.

for more information and images see:

for more information about Greco-Roman Mythology go to:






'Peter Pan and Tinkerbell'

Zac Sawyer


© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015



'Lohengrin'
Zac Sawyer

for more information and images see:

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015



'SIEGFRIED'
Zac Sawyer

Siegfried is the third of the four operas that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner. It premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 16 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of The Ring. This part of the opera is primarily inspired by the story of the legendary hero Siegfried in Norse mythology. Siegfried is a young man without fear. Here he has just re-forged Siegmund's sword 'Northung', and is about to cut off the head of the evil little dwarf, Mime, who has brought him up since he was a baby.
Image based on a scene from Fritz Lang's 'Nibelungen'

for more information and images see:

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015



'SIEGFRIED SLAYS THE DRAGON'
Zac Sawyer

Siegfried is the third of the four operas that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner. It premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 16 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of The Ring. This part of the opera is primarily inspired by the story of the legendary hero Siegfried in Norse mythology. Siegfried is a young man without fear. Here he has just slain the Dragon, Fafnir, who is guarding the Nibelungen hoard, which includes the Ring.
Image based on a scene from Fritz Lang's 'Nibelungen'

for more information and images see:

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015



'SIEGFRIED und BRÜNHILDE'

Brünnhilde is a shieldmaiden and a Valkyrie in Germanic mythology. After Siegfried has killed the dragon, Fafnir, and decapitated Mime, he finds Brünnhilde on a fire girt rock. She has been put into an enchanted sleep by Wotan, and can only be awoken by a kiss, by the mightiest of heroes - Siegfried - who can brave Loki's magic flames - and after the kiss - they immediately fall in love !

for more information and images see:
http://peterswagner.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/siegfried.html

© Copyright Zac Sawyer 2015



'NORDISCHE TRÄUME'
(Nordic Dreams)


for more information and images see:

© Peter Crawford - 2012




'ENTHRONED AMONG THE BILLOWS'

© Peter Crawford 2011

'Truth and Right and Freedom,
each a holy gem,
Stars of solemn brightness,
weave thy diadem.
'Tho thy way be darken'd,
still in splendour drest,
As the star that trembles
o'er the liquid West.
Thron'd amid the billows,
thron'd inviolate,
Thou hast reign'd victorious,
thou hast smil'd at fate.'


A C BENSON



FOR THE FALLEN

© Peter Crawford - 2011

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