Rise of the Olympians - Dennis Hatcher

This gallery portrays the aftermath of the Titanomachy. In Greek mythology, the Titanomachy was the war that was fought between the Titans led by Kronos and the Olympian gods, led by Zeus. The war went on for ten years and ended in the defeat of the Titan pantheon. The old pantheon was based on Mount Othrys, and the new one was created on Mount Olympus. After the war, reign over the world was divided between the three sons of Kronos. In the gallery color and contrast is used to create meaning and enhance feeling within the representations of the gods.

This first piece shows the end of Titanomachy. With the war ending, the Olympians being victorious, Zeus condemned all the Titans except Themis and Prometheus to Tartarus, the equivalent of Hell within the underworld. In The Fall of the Titans, Cornelis uses almost analogous colors for the skin of the Titans and their allies, but at such varying tones that it causes a high amount of contrast. This contrast enhances the feeling of their chaotic punishment along with their facial expressions of despair. The contrast of white in the clouds above against their black and gray surroundings visually represents the Titans decent into Tartarus or Hell.
With Kronos dethroned and the Titans no longer in power, Zeus along with his brothers Poseidon and Hades, divided the universe by drawing straws. Zeus won and became the king of the sky, as well as the ruler of mortals and gods. In this representation of Zeus there is a high contrast of white, black, and red to create a striking and imposing figure. The luminescent skin shining out of the dark clouds is a representation of the divinity of the king of gods.
After Kronos dethroned his father, Uranus prophesized that Kronos would also be overthrown by his own son. Afraid of the prophecy coming true, Kronos ate his children. Filled with grief, his wife Rhea tricked him and saved her youngest child, Zeus. She hid Zeus in a cave on the island of Crete, where the goat Amalthea would raise him till he would become strong enough to retaliate against the Titans. In the painting, the background has a tetradic color scheme of low saturation setting a serene mood on the island. The women are cloaked in bright and vibrant colors bringing on a sense of happiness and cheerfulness. Overall the color scheme of the painting shows the delight in Zeus’s salvation.
This painting depicts the myth in which Zeus abducts Europa from Phoenicia to bring her to Crete. Zeus is known for being attracted to beautiful mortal women. As Europa was gathering flowers in a seaside meadow, Zeus disguised himself as a bull. The bull was so uncommonly gentle that Europa climbed up on its back and as soon as she did Zeus charged back into the ocean and swam to Crete. As he swam Europa saw that a procession of Nereids and Poseidon had joined them. From this she realized that the bull must be a god. In the painting, the focal point is Europa and the bull (Zeus). The eye is first drawn to Europa in her white dress, symbolizing purity and then immediately to Zeus as his fur is bright brown and white. Zeus is also covered in bright wildflowers of pink, blue, and green; along with a vibrant pink cloak. With the background and other deities having lower tones and saturation, it really makes the real subject of the work pop out.
Poseidon becomes ruler of the seas and its creatures after the Titanomachy. He was widely worshipped by sailors and married Amphitrite, one of the granddaughters of the Titan Oceanus. In this depiction of Poseidon, it seems that an ominous event is taking place due to the dark shades of the colors. However, within the dark shades, the viewer will notice the high contrast of red, white, and black; thus realizing they are viewing the splendor of the ocean, which many Greeks relied upon. As the viewer’s eyes gaze up they see the Nereids, the sea nymphs, who aided sailors through storms. No longer fixed on the focal point, the viewer sees Poseidon and his trident in the middle ground with skin and hair of higher value, representing his divinity and supremacy.
This second representation of Poseidon depicts his marriage to the sea nymph Amphitrite. The couple is surrounded by other deities such as Tritons and the Nereids. In Neptune and Amphitrite, Frans Francken creates a very soft contrast between light tones of the cool green and turquoise background and the warm colors of the foreground. Making the entire painting low contrast with split complimentary colors focusing to the subject matter, the artist forces the viewer to examine the entire painting and all of its details. As the viewer examines the work they’ll notice Tritons blowing his horn in the center, then they come to Aphrodite and cupid to the left, eventually climbing up to Poseidon as he wilds his trident. Using light colors and tones, the artist really captures the joyous event.
This painting is an illustration for the book by Francesco Colonna called Strife of Love in a Dream of Polyphilus. On the left of the painting, Polyphilus and Polia sail to the island of love called Cythera. The sea nymph and wife of Poseidon is seen seated in a shell on the lower right. To the left Tritons is shown blowing his horn as the lovers set sail for the island. Triangulated at the top is Poseidon with his identifiable trident, watching the boat, surrounded by his subjects. When it comes to the sea, Poseidon prevails over all. Though the painting shows Poseidon’s authority as a god, the painting also represents his blessing to the couple. The story is about Polyphilus and Polia, but they are subdued as part of the background using analogous hues and desaturation. In the foreground we see a vibrant and triadic color scheme that creates a stark contrast to the rest of the image. The colors do not center on Poseidon, but unify all of the sea deities; as they all give procession and their blessings to the couple.
Hades who drew the shortest straw in dominion of the world after the Titanomachy became ruler of the underworld. This first painting of Hades represents the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus, wanting to bring back his love from the depths of the underworld, enticed Hades with his expert musical talent and stroke a deal with the master of the underworld. Orpheus had to lead Eurydice out, but could not look back, and ultimately failed. In the painting, there is not an ominous shade, but a hopeful vale and color upon the couple in the story. The lighter colors in this narrative painting shows that, at times, Hades is a god of reason and not a personification of evil; as a lot of people believe him to be Satan’s equivalent.
In this piece by Salvator Rosa, we see the philosopher Pythagoras arising from the depths of Hades. Pythagoras claims while in Hades he witnessed the tortured souls of the poets Homer and Hesiod for betraying the secrets of the gods. In the depiction of Pythagoras arising from the underworld we see life illuminated in high value on the left compared to the dark death awaiting us all on the right. In the painting we see that in its dark shades not to anger the gods, for eternal punishment awaits.
In this last portrayal of the god of the underworld, represents the myth of Hades and Persephone. The daughter of a primeval goddess enchanted Hades with her beauty. Hades fell in love with Persephone and decided to kidnap her. Hades left the underworld; he traveled above ground to pursue her, while she was gathering flowers in a field. Legend has it that Persephone was unhappy with the arrangement, but after much time had passed, she came to love Hades. In the painting the surrounding is dark and ominous as the couple approaches the underworld. The goddess of springtime is shown in bright warm colors in contrast to Hades dark values to exemplify the abduction. Although, Hades is covered in a bright pink cloth to deter from evil assumption to show that this act was out of his love for the goddess.
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