The unfinished 36 X 48 inch oil on canvas Mythology: Metamorphosis of Medusa is a free composition based on the iconography of the ancient Greek figures of Athena, Poseidon and the maiden Medusa. A brief overview of these character’s features and characteristics will make the content of the image more meaningful.
Athena, the goddess of wisdom, strategic war, and the arts, among other things, was among the most revered of the Greek gods and goddesses. She was a virgin goddess of great beauty and intelligence but could be vengeful and spiteful. Her symbols are her helmet, spear, aegis, shield, serpent and owl. Her main temple complexes were in Athens and Delphi.
Poseidon, was a brother of the great gods Zeus and Hades. He was the god of the sea, earthquakes and was husband to ‘mother earth’ (Demeter), as well as being renowned as a “tamer of horses”. His major symbols are the trident, tritons, maenads, hippocampus, and dolphins. Poseidon lost the competition against Athena for patronage of Athens and played major roles in the epics of Homer.
Little was written about the beautiful ‘fair cheeked’ Medusa who was a major figure in the story of Perseus. She was raped by the sea god Poseidon on the floor of a Temple of Athena. This so inflamed Athena that she changed the poor woman into a hideously ugly winged creature with a disfigured face surrounded with venomous snakes growing in her hair. She is best known for having the ability to turn men into stone by merely looking into their eyes. She was beheaded by Perseus, who then used it to save the princess Andromeda from the sea monster Cetus sent to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. During the classical period she was usually depicted as being beautiful but nevertheless terrifying.
The composition, begun November 3rd, 2014, was developed around the original figure studies of one of my models (see below). I have just begun adding the color, and plan to have it completed by December 31st, 2014.