THE LEGENDARY CHARACTERS OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY - (Justin weber)

This gallery includes interpretations of the gods, goddesses, and heroes of ancient Greek mythology in the medium of bronze sculptures. This gallery will show how the artists create movement with the use of lines, spacing, and positions to bring their sculptures to life. Some of the artists created enough movement in their sculptures to tell a complete story. 

This sculpture depicts Saturn, who is known in Greek mythology as Cronus, god of agriculture and father of the Titans. In the sculpture, he is shown eating one of his children and holding the bone of another in his left hand. Simon Hurtrelle creates movement in this sculpture by placing Cronus’s left leg in front of his right, a slight bend in both knees, the left side of his hip shifted up, and his back foot lifted with only the toes touching the ground. It almost looks like he is about to take a step forward. The artist also used lines to bring out the details in Cronus’ anatomy, including different muscles. The lines show the strength and power in his legs, arms, and stomach. The lines also show off the mystical property of his wings. Furthermore, lines provide emphasis to his beard, hair, and the sheet around him. Even the psychological lines of his head tilted down meeting that of the baby’s arm all bring a sense of realism to this sculpture.
This sculpture depicts Pluto, who in Greek mythology is known as Hades, King of the Underworld and god of the Dead. He is shown kidnaping Proserpine, who is also known as Persephone, Greek goddess of vegetation and the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. François Girardon uses the perfect amount of negative space between each figure to separate the positive space of each figure from one another. He also uses lines to bring out the details of the figures. The lines all depict the strength and power of the figures; however, the lines allow for the feminine and masculine contrast. For example, Girardon uses smooth lines in the females and detailed, etched lines in the male. The use of sharp lines in the rocks at the bottom of the sculpture help separate the ground from the figures perfectly. There is a lot going on in this sculpture, but the lines of the figure’s limbs help move the viewer’s eyes around the sculpture in a way that brings it all together. It also gives it movement. Proserpine’s legs are off the ground. One leg is bent at the knee with the foot against Hades left thigh. Her arms are raised out as if trying to look for something to grab, which displays her distress. Hades has his arms around Proserpine’s waist with her over his shoulder and his left leg bent back. His right leg is bent and placed on the opposite side of a figure of another women lying on the ground. The movement provided here gives the sense that Hades is stepping over this woman in order to get away. François Girardon did a great job on this sculpture which basically tells the story itself.
This sculpture depicts Neptune, who in Greek mythology is known as Poseidon, god of the sea. Poseidon is shown standing on water with a trident in his hands and a dolphin in the water below him. Gian Lorenzo Bernini uses negative space to separate the positive space between the dolphin and the trident from that of Poseidon. He also uses proportion in this sculpture. By making the dolphin and the base of the water much smaller than that of the figure of Poseidon, it emphasizes Poseidon’s size and allows the viewer to regard him as a powerful god. Bernini creates movement in this piece by sculpting the god in mid- action. Poseidon’s body is viewed as shifting forward and being in action by the use of the following visual aspects: knees bent, one leg in front of the other, upper torso twisted back, arms reaching backwards, and head looking down in the direction his trident is pointing. This allows one to imagine that Poseidon is getting ready to strike at an enemy that we are unable to see. The artist also uses etched lines to bring out the anatomy of Poseidon’s muscles, which helps elevate the sense of movement. This adds to the sense of strength and power that this god possesses. The use of sharp lines in the water, his clothing, and the wavy lines of his hair moving in several different directions creates the sense that wind is present, which also adds to the movement of this piece.
This sculpture depicts the mighty demigod Hercules, son of Zeus, fighting the famous centaur Nessus. It represents a story in Greek mythology in which Nessus tries to kidnap Hercules’ wife, Deianeira, but is stopped and killed by Hercules. Nessus knew Deianeira was jealous of another woman. Therefore, as he is about to die, he lies and tells her that his blood would make Hercules hers forever. Believing Nessus, Deianeira uses his blood on Hercules which kills him. Hercules is shown straddling Nessus as he pushes Nessus’ head backward and draws back his club to strike. Nessus seems to be attempting to escape and push Hercules off. However, in the actual story, there is no fight. Instead, Hercules shoots Nessus with a single arrow that is poisoned. Antonio Susini, the artist of this sculpture, used etched lines to create the muscles in both figures. The detail in the muscles and facial features are very realistic to the anatomy of a human and features of a horse. The muscles depict the strength of each character. Susini does a great job bringing this sculpture to life. Through the use of etched lines and movement, a great struggle is depicted. Nessus is shown buckling at the knees as he is being bent back. He has one arm trying to remove Hercules’ hand from his neck, and one against Hercules’ chest trying to push him away. Hercules is shown standing with his chiseled muscles over Nessus’ back with one hand on the throat of the centaur pushing his head back. His waist is twisted back with his other arm reaching out with a club. The artist also uses negative space between the limbs of the figures to separate them from one another. Susini did a great job of displaying the god like strength of Hercules as he draws back to kill his enemy.
This sculpture depicts Perseus, who was a son of Zeus, grandfather to Hercules. Perseus was considered the great hero of Greek mythology before the days of Hercules. The sculpture represents a story from Homer’s Odyssey about his battle against the Gorgon, Medusa. In the story, Perseus is able to defeat Medusa with the help of the gods. To fight Medusa, Perseus was provided helpful tools, including: a mirrored shield from the goddess Athena, winged sandals from the god Hermes, a helm of invisibility from the god Hades, and a powerful sword from the blacksmith of the gods. Giovanni Battista Foggini uses a small amount of negative space in this sculpture. The surface of the shield is very smooth and polished. This creates a reflective surface which supports the fact that it represents a mirrored shield. The artist used etched lines in the base of the sculpture characterizing a rock surface which also separates it from the figure of Medusa. Amazing detail is shown with the use of the sharp and wavy etched lines that create the realistic anatomy of both figures, their attire, and tools, such as the following: raised and wavy lines on the helm, detailed lines of their clothing, and the small straight lines around the rim of the shield. Detailed lines also portray the feelings expressed, such as the agony of Medusa with her mouth open wide and the determination of Perseus as he intently views his target. These lines allow the observer to distinguish the action, passion, and pain illustrated in this scene. Foggini creates movement by positioning Perseus in mid-action. His head is looking down with his upper torso slightly twisted back. The line of his right arm is positioned up and reaching back behind his head with the sword in full swing. Medusa is on the ground with the lines of both arms spread out away from her body as she awaits her death. By the use of the techniques of etched lines and movement, Foggini allows the viewer to see the strength of Perseus and struggle depicted.
This sculpture depicts Mercury, who in Greek mythology is known as Hermes, god of travel and messenger of the gods. The artist, who is unknown, used a lot of negative space around the limbs of the figure and in between the fingers and staff. The figure is shown looking up as his body is stretched out with the line of his right arm reaching up and the other straight down holding his staff. The line of his left leg is straight down with all his weight on the tips of his toes. His right leg is bent backward at the knee. The positions and negative space utilized creates movement in this piece. The viewer gets a sense that Hermes is about to take flight to deliver a message. The artist used soft lines to give this figure a youthful anatomy. These soft lines also contribute to Mercury’s appearance of being light, airy, and weightless. One can imagine that he has the mythical property of flight. Deeper etched lines where used in creating the details in his mouth, eyebrows, toes, fingers, and staff. The wings on Mercury’s helmet were developed with detailed lines as well; however, these lines are lighter and more subtle. They have a feather like quality to them in their design. The soft waves in his hair also provide a light, buoyant form.
This sculpture depicts Orpheus discarding his lyre. Orpheus in Greek mythology was a legendary poet, musician, and prophet who could charm birds, beast, and even Hades with his music. The sculpture shows Orpheus sitting on a tree stump dropping his lyre, which is similar to a small harp, with his left hand and looking up at a record that he is holding above his head with his right hand. At his feet lies a panther that seems to be sleeping. The artist, Lorado Taft, creates movement in this piece by sculpting the lyre in between Orpheus’s hand and the ground to give it the sense of falling to the ground. He also positioned the right arm in mid-action of being extended. This further provides motion to the piece. Taft used light, etched lines in the tree trunk to distinguish it from the figure of Orpheus. Deep, etched lines where used to bring out the masculine, strong anatomy of Orpheus and to show the details in his face. Sharp lines where used to create the clothing that wraps around his waist, which separates it from his body. Finally, Taft used deep, etched lines to create the panther which helps it pop out from the ground surrounding it.
This sculpture depicts Cupid, who in Greek mythology is known as Eros, the god of love, procreation, and sexual desire. He is known as the son of Aphrodite. Eros is shown sitting on the rocks looking down at his left wounded arm. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux uses sharp, etched lines in the rocks of the sculpture to separate them from Eros. Negative space is used between his arm and body. Smooth lines are used to bring out Eros’ boyish anatomy with sharper lines used to separate the fingers, toes, and the bandage on his left arm. Layered, wavy lines create his hair and deep, etched lines are used to create his eyes and mouth. Despite the fact that Eros is looking at his left wounded arm, Carpeaux surprisingly uses soft lines around the mouth and cheeks of Eros, which give off a sense of peace and composure. Carpeaux creates a small amount of movement in this sculpture with the use of lines and positioning. The lines of both legs and arms are slightly bent. Eros has his hips turned with his weight resting on the right side, and his torso is bent away from the rocks with his right arm resting on the rock. Finally, his head is turned and tilted down as the psychological lines of his eyes look down at his wound. In addition, Eros’ wings are spread out allowing the viewer to admire his mythical quality.
This sculpture depicts Venus, who is known in Greek mythology as Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Aphrodite is shown standing naked covering herself as if someone had just walked in on her. Pietro Cipriani uses a small amount of negative space between the legs and arms in this sculpture, which separates the positive space of the limbs from the body. Large amounts of smooth, polished areas are utilized to give Aphrodite’s skin a flawless appearance, which supports the fact that she is the goddess of beauty. Cipriani uses soft lines to give the figure her feminine anatomy and sharper, wavy lines to represent the hair. The artist creates movement by positioning Aphrodite in mid-action. The line of her right arm is fully bent and the left arm is slightly bent as they both cover her private parts. Her right leg is slightly bent with the knee scarcely overlapping the left knee. Her right foot is lifted with only the toes touching the ground. These placements provide movement to the piece. Also, her head is turned away as if embarrassed. Cipriani displays Aphrodite’s mouth partly open as if surprised.
This sculpture depicts Circle who was a goddess and sorceress that would transform her enemies into beasts. Circle is standing with her legs together and arms straight out. Bertram Edgar Mackennal used soft lines and smooth polished areas to detail her feminine figure. Deep, etched lines make up her hair, eyes, and mouth. The artist used negative space to separate the fingers and two small areas of negative space to separate her legs from one another. Movement is portrayed through Circle’s arm positions. The stance of her arms combined with the physiological lines of her eyes allow the viewer to observe Circle performing one of her dark spells. The lines that depict her eyes, closed mouth, and smooth face display Circle’s determined, passionless purpose. The base that Circle is standing upon has sharp, raised lines around it that are made into figures of men and woman having relations while an angel sits in the middle with her head between her knees. Mackennal uses smooth, soft lines to depict the angles arms and figure and soft, featherlike strokes to display her wings. While the angle’s wings are spread out, her arms are depicted falling forward as if sorrowful and cheerless. Finally, the top of the base is decorated with two snakes with smooth, etched lines that bring out their scales.
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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