gods among Mortals

This gallery is about Greek and Roman mythology and all of its greatness. The art pieces  here show the myths and legends from the ancient times that involved their teachings and their gods. The stories that these works of art tell, wether they are true or not, are very descriptive. Enjoy the gallery.

Perseus Confronting Phineus with the Head of Medusa, Sebastiano Ricci, about 1705 - 1710, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
This work of art shows a dramatic confrontation between Perseus and Phineus. This attack happened at Perseus's wedding which was interrupted by Phineus and his men. Perseus, who was famous in Greek Mythology for killing Medusa, holds her head and turns it towards his attackers turning them to stone. This painting shows a lot of movement. Perseus is thrusting forward pushing medusa's head closer to his attackers, while the wedding guest fall to the floor along with the table. The attackers in the back, even though they have turned to stone, are stuck in mid-attack with their arms and weapons in the air. The soldier holding up the shield falls backwards to try and avoid medusa's gaze as well. It is evident that this is a fierce attack because movement plays an important roll in this painting.
The Lament for Icarus, Herbert Draper, 1898, From the collection of: Tate Britain
In Mythology, Icarus is known for using wings created from feathers and wax and flying too close to the sun. This picture shows the aftermath of his actions and his descent from the sky. Surrounding Icarus's lifeless body are Nymphs who of course are lamenting over his death. This painting uses color, specifically on his wings to bring emphasis to Icarus's body which is the main focus of the work of art. When looking at this painting because of the light colored feathers surrounding Icarus and the dark contrast of the background, the eye moves directly to his lifeless figure. Also, because the nymphs are also light in color the eye then travels to them and their sadness over his death. The color helps to emphasis the idea behind the painting.
The Fall of Ixion, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, circa 1588, From the collection of: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Mythology stated that Ixion tried to seduce Zeus's wife Hera, and because of his actions, he was punished by Zeus to fall into a fiery abyss where he would forever rotate on a burning wheel. This Painting shows Ixions fall and his impending punishment. Movement would be the focus of this painting to clearly show his fall from grace. Due to the position of his arms and legs, it is evident that he is falling swiftly to his punishment. There is also a focus on the form of his body and muscles and how they move while falling through the air.
The Education of Achilles, James Barry, 1741–1806, Irish, ca. 1772, From the collection of: Yale Center for British Art
This painting depicts Chiron, a very well-known and highly praised Centaur in Mythology who tutored Achilles to be the great warrior he was. Achillies, who sits by him with a musical instrument, a spear and shield, looks up at his teacher and is paying attention to what he is telling him. This work of art shows Space due the depth of its background as well as the additional unknown Centaur and her child.There is also a path behind them showing more depth. The Painting also uses color to bring the eye to the two main characters of the painting. The centaur Chiron and Achillies are much lighter then the background and the figure in the back making the focus be mainly on them.
Venus, Mars and Cupid, Rubens, Sir Peter Paul, Early to mid-1630s, From the collection of: Dulwich Picture Gallery
This picture shows Venus, her son Cupid and Mars in a harmonious family portrait. Cupid hangs on to his mother while hanging over a shield with a large face on it. Mars stands in the back over looking the two happy figures. Venus's form is a main focus due to the curves and fullness of her body. Cupids form is also very Cherub like but shows the roundness of his arms and legs. There is also unity to this painting as well. The three figures seem to overlap each other in a very subtle way but they form this triangular type of unity which brings the eye straight to their forms.
The birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, 1483 - 1485, From the collection of: Uffizi Gallery
In Mythology it was said that Venus ( Aphrodite) was born from the ocean. With in this picture, Venus is centered in the middle coming from the ocean while standing on a shell. On one side there are two figures flying towards her surrounded by falling flowers and to the other side another figure is there with cloth to cover her with as she comes from the ocean. Now while this painting shows no space in the background and its figures cast no shadow, the painting it self is equally balanced. Naturally the eye goes straight to the middle where Venus is located but each side has different figures that complement her and do not over take her location in the middle. The main design principle would be the scale of the figures. Venus's neck is very disproportionate to her body along with her torso which is equally just as elongated and unrealistic.
Diana, John Cheere, 1755 -, From the collection of: National Palace of Queluz
In Roman Mythology , Diana is the goddess of the hunt and this sculpture depicts just that. Diana is grabbing a bow and putting her feet in position to aim and shoot at her unknown prey. This sculpture has a lot of texture in her clothes. There are creases and flow within the clothes she is wearing regardless of the fact that it is made of marble. Around her arms and hips, her clothes are bunched and gathered and show the flow of her outfit and softness of her clothes. Also movement plays a part in this sculpture as well because Diana is grabbing her arrow and moving to attack. Her other hand is moving upward as if to bring her bow up to shoot.
The Sacrifice of Polyxena, Giovanni Battista Pittoni (Italian (Venetian), 1687 - 1767), about 1733 - 1734, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
In Greek Mythology, Achillies fell in love with Polyxena and was offered her hand in marriage. She requested that he make a sacrifice to Apollo and as he did he was ambushed by her brother Paris in his heel which was his only weak spot. As he lay dying he proclaimed that Polyxena be sacrificed at his tomb which is what this painting shows. Polyxena is in a white wedding dress, surrounded by Trojans and a priest holding a knife, ready to sacrifice her. This painting uses color to differentiate between the most important figures. Polysexa is wearing all white to signify her betrothal and then betrayal to Achillies. The Priest who are planning to sacrifice her are wearing blue and green and a Trojan stands in front of her wearing red. The people located in the background all seem to blend and not have any type of vibrancy to them like the other characters.
The Rape of Proserpine, Van Aachen, Hans, 1589, From the collection of: Muzeul Național Brukenthal
In Mythology it was said that Pluto (Hades) took Proserpine to the underworld even after hearing please from her mother to let her stay with her. Pluto and Proserpine's mother came to a compromise where she was to stay in the underworld in fall and winter but be allowed to return to her in the spring and summer. This picture depicts Pluto taking Proserpine on a chariot to the Underworld with him to be his bride. Pluto holds on to her as she reaches her arm out to the crowd looking at the women in the center which is said to be her mother. The Form of the women in this painting are very voluptuous and full. Each figure has a roundness and softness to their form. Proserpine's body is shown to be very full and soft and elongated to show as much even though she is being pulled towards the underworld by pluto.
The Triumphal Procession of Bacchus, Maerten van Heemskerck, 1536/1537, From the collection of: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Bacchus (Dionysus) is the Roman God of Wine and Fertility and this painting shows exactly that. Bacchus is being carried triumphantly by his people who celebrate around him. There are instruments and wine as well as men upon stills. They are joyful in his presents and are celebrating around him. Vibrant colors in the painting help to set the mood of celebration. There are no dark shadows or backgrounds. There are bright greens and blues that illuminate the people celebrating. Also the forms of each person are very defined , they have very muscular bodies and the children are very cherub formed. There is also this sense of movement with in the procession because everyone is walking forward as if to continue the parade. The eye follows down the procession at each person and there is depth in this picture as well because if you look past the archway there are more people waiting for the procession to move forward.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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