GREAT ART - Mythology

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015


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.

see also:

featuring the art of Vittorio Carvelli, Zac Sawyer, André Durand,James Childs, Roberto Ferri - et al.

Nicolas Poussin - (1594 – 1665)

Nicolas Poussin (5 June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne.
He spent most of his working life in Rome, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.
Initially, Poussin's genius was recognized only by small circles of collectors. (In the two decades following his death, a particularly large collection of his works was amassed by Louis XIV.)[16] At the same time, it was recognized that he had contributed a new theme of "classical severity" to French art.

Nicolas Poussin - (1594 – 1665) 

Nicolas Poussin - (1594 – 1665) 

Joseph Désiré Court 1797-1865

In Greek mythology, Hippolytus (meaning "unleasher of horses") was a son of Theseus and either Antiope or Hippolyte.
He was identified with the Roman forest god Virbius.
The most common legend regarding Hippolytus states that he was killed after rejecting the advances of Phaedra, the second wife of Theseus and Hippolytus's stepmother.
Spurned, Phaedra convinced Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her. Infuriated, Theseus believed her and, using one of the three wishes he had received from Poseidon, cursed Hippolytus. Hippolytus' horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to his death.
Alternatively, Dionysus sent a wild bull that terrified Hippolytus' horses, causing them to drag Hippolytus to his death.
The story of Phaedra and Hippolytus is told, in somewhat different versions, by Euripides' play Hippolytus and Seneca the Younger's play Phaedra.

Jérôme-Martin Langlois - (1779-1838)

In Greek mythology, Endymion was a handsome Aeolian shepherd or hunter,  and was said to reside at Olympia in Elis.
Pliny the Elder mentions Endymion as the first human to observe the movements of the moon, which (according to Pliny) accounts for Endymion's love.
Apollonius of Rhodes is one of the many poets who tell how Selene, the Titan goddess of the moon, loved the mortal.
She believed him to be so beautiful that she asked Endymion's father, Zeus, to grant him eternal youth so that he would never leave her.
Alternatively, Selene so loved how Endymion looked when he was asleep in the cave on Mount Latmus, near Miletus in Caria, that she entreated Zeus that he might remain that way.
In either case, Zeus granted her wish and put him into an eternal sleep.
Every night, Selene visited him where he slept. Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters called the Menae.

'Sleeping Endymion' - 1756
Nicolas-Guy Brenet (1728-1792) 

In Greek mythology Endymion could have been a handsome Aeolian shepherd or hunter, or even a king who ruled and was said to reside at Olympia in Elis, but he was also said to reside and was venerated on Mount Latmus in Caria, on the west coast of Asia Minor.

There is confusion over the true location of Endymion, as some sources suppose that one was, or was related to, the prince of Elis, and the other was a shepherd from Caria—or, a later suggestion, an astronomer: Pliny the Elder mentions Endymion as the first human to observe the movements of the moon, which (according to Pliny) accounts for Endymion's love.
As such, there have been two attributed sites of Endymion's burial: The citizens of Heracleia ad Latmo claimed that Endymion's tomb was on Mount Latmus, while the Eleans declared that it was at Olympia.

(Orpheus in the Underworld)
Jules Louis Machard

Orpheus  was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth.
The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music.
As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, opera, and painting.
To the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries.
He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which survives. Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles. Ancient Greek sources note Orpheus's Thracian origins.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

Dionysus (Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology.
His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete.
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; and 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.
His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theater.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - (1825-1905)

Ανδρομέδα  -  'ANDROMEDA'  -  (1969)
Gustave Doré  -  (1832-1883)

Andromeda is a princess from Greek mythology who, as divine punishment for her mother's bragging, the Boast of Cassiopeia, was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster.
She was saved from death by Perseus, her future husband.
Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek.
The traditional etymology of the name is "to think of a man,".
The subject has been popular in art since classical times.
In the Christian period the subject was converted into the legend of St George and the Dragon, but from the Renaissance interest revived in the original story, typically as derived from Ovid's account.

F R E D E R I C    L E I G H T O N

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA (3 December 1830–25 January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton, Bt, between 1886 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor.
His works depicted historical, biblical and classical subject matter.
Leighton was born in Scarborough to a family in the import and export business. He was educated at University College School, London. He then received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Eduard Von Steinle and then from Giovanni Costa.
When in Florence, aged 24, where he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, he painted the procession of the Cimabue Madonna through the Borgo Allegri.
He lived in Paris from 1855 to 1859, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot and Millet.
In 1860, he moved to London, where he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites.
He designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb for Robert Browning in the English Cemetery, Florence in 1861.
In 1864 he became an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1878 he became its President (1878–96). His 1877 sculpture, Athlete Wrestling with a Python, was considered at its time to inaugurate a renaissance in contemporary British sculpture, referred to as the New Sculpture.
His paintings represented Britain at the great 1900 Paris Exhibition.Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a Baronet, of Holland Park Road in the Parish of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of Middlesex, eight years later.
He was the first painter to be given a peerage, in the New Year Honours List of 1896. The patent creating him Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire, was issued on 24 January 1896.
Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris.

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

The legend of Cupid and Psyche (also known as The Tale of Amour and Psyche and The Tale of Eros and Psyche) first appeared as a digressionary story told by an old woman in Lucius Apuleius' novel, 'The Golden Ass', written in the 2nd century AD.
Apuleius likely used an earlier tale as the basis for his story, modifying it to suit the thematic needs of his novel.

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

L A W R E N C E    A L M A  -  T A D E M A

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - (1836-1912)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema  OM, RA (8 January 1836 – 25 June 1912) was one of the most renowned painters of late nineteenth-century Britain.
Born in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Belgium, he settled in England in 1870 and spent the rest of his life there.
A classical-subject painter, he became famous for his depictions of the luxury and decadence of the Roman Empire, with languorous figures set in fabulous marbled interiors or against a backdrop of dazzling blue Mediterranean sea and sky.
Admired during his lifetime for his draftsmanship and depictions of Classical antiquity, he fell into disrepute after his death, and only since the 1960s has his work been reevaluated for its importance within nineteenth-century English art.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadama - (1836-1912)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadama - (1836-1912)

Pandora, in Greek mythology, was the first woman.
As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of mankind for Prometheus' theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her "seductive gifts".
Her other name, inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum, is Anesidora, "she who sends up gifts," up implying "from below" within the earth.
According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of mankind — although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod — leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again.
She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadama - (1836-1912)

Σαπφώ Ἀλκαῖος
(Sappho and Alcaeus)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadama - (1836-1912)

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets.
Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life.
The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments.

Alcaeus of Mytilene (c. 620 BC-6th century BC), Ancient Greek lyric poet who supposedly invented the Alcaic verse.
He was included in the canonical list of nine lyric poets by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria.
He was an older contemporary and an alleged lover of Sappho, with whom he may have exchanged poems.
He was born into the aristocratic governing class of Mytilene, the main city of Lesbos, where he was involved in political disputes and feuds.

J O H N   W I L L I A M   W A T E R H O U S E

John William Waterhouse (baptised 6 April 1849; died 10 February 1917) was an English painter known for working in the classical style.
Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art.
He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece.
Waterhouse's work is currently displayed at several major British art galleries, and the Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

Calypso was a nymph in Greek mythology, who lived on the island of Ogygia, where she detained Odysseus for a number of years.
She is generally said to be the daughter of the Titan Atlas.
Hesiod mentions Calypso as one of the Oceanid daughters of Tethys and Oceanus, and Pseudo-Apollodorus as one of the Nereid daughters of Nereus and Doris
Calypso is remembered most for her role in Homer's Odyssey, in which she keeps the fabled Greek hero Odysseus on her island so she could make him her immortal husband.
According to Homer, Calypso kept Odysseus hostage at Ogygia for seven years, while Pseudo-Apollodorus says five years and Hyginus says one.
During this time they sleep together, although Odysseus soon comes to wish for circumstances to change.

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum scopuli.
In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa, is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae.
All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.
When the Sirens were given a parentage they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon.
Although they lured mariners, for the Greeks the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" were not sea deities.
Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys.
Their number is variously reported as between two and five.
In the Odyssey, Homer says nothing of their origin or names, but gives the number of the Sirens as two.

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth.
The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music.
As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, opera, and painting.
To the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries.
He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which survives.
Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles.
Ancient Greek sources note Orpheus's Thracian origins.

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

'A  NAIAD' - 1893
John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

In Greek mythology the Naiads or Naiades were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks.
They are distinct from river gods, who embodied rivers, and the very ancient spirits that inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid.
Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap.


John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic (or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress), described in the Odyssey as 'The loveliest of all immortals,' living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey.
By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid, and the sister of Aeetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece, Perses, and Pasiphaë, the Wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur.
Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate.
Circe transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals through the use of magical potions.
She was known for her knowledge of drugs and herbs.


John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

sketch for
John William Waterhouse - (1849 - 1917)

Solomon Joseph Solomon - (1860 - 1927)

Solomon Joseph Solomon, RA, (September 16, 1860, London - July 27, 1927, Birchington) was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter.
Solomon's family was Jewish, and his sister, Lily Delissa Joseph (née Solomon), was also a painter.
Solomon studied at various art schools, sequentially, Heatherley School of Fine Art, the Royal Academy Schools, the Munich Academy, and École des Beaux-Arts (under Alexandre Cabanel).
Solomon also studied separately under Rev. S. Singer.
In 1886, he became one of the founding members of the New English Art Club.
In 1896, he became an associate of the Royal Academy, with full membership following in 1906.
He joined, and became president of, the Royal Society of British Artists in 1919.
Solomon's painting was grounded in his influence from his teacher Alexandre Cabanel, but was also influenced by Frederic Leighton and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Solomon painted mainly portraits to earn a living, but also painted dramatic, theatrical scenes from mythology and the bible on large canvasses.

At the fall of Troy, Cassandra sought shelter in the temple of Athena, where she was violently abducted and raped by Ajax the Lesser.
Cassandra was then taken as a concubine by King Agamemnon of Mycenae. Unbeknownst to Agamemnon, while he was away at war, his wife, Clytemnestra, had begun an affair with Aegisthus.
Clytemnestra and Aegisthus then murdered both Agamemnon and Cassandra. Some sources mention that Cassandra and Agamemnon had twin boys, Teledamus and Pelops, both of whom were killed by Aegisthus.

Solomon Joseph Solomon - (1860 - 1927)

Annie Swynnerton - (1844 - 1933)

Annie Louisa Robinson Swynnerton (1844 – 24 October 1933) was an English painter.[
She was born in Kersal, then a suburb of Manchester. She was one of the seven daughters of solicitor Francis Robinson; she began painting to contribute to the family's support.
Later she trained at the Manchester School of Art and the Académie Julian in Paris.
She married sculptor Joseph Swynnerton in 1883 and lived with him if Rome for much of her maturity.
She was an active feminist and suffragette.
With Susan Dacre she founded the Manchester Society of Women Painters in 1876.
Among her creations were 'Cupid and Psyche'.
In 1922 she became the first female associate of the Royal Academy since the 18th century. She died on Hayling Island in 1933.

The story of Eros and Psyche has a longstanding tradition as a folktale of the ancient Greco-Roman world long before it was committed to literature in Apuleius' Latin novel, 'The Golden Ass'.
The novel itself is picaresque Roman style, yet Psyche and Aphrodite retain their Greek parts.
It is only Eros whose role hails from his part in the Roman pantheon.
The story is told as a digression and structural parallel to the main storyline of Apuleius' novel.
It tells of the struggle for love and trust between Eros and Psyche.
Aphrodite is jealous of the beauty of mortal Psyche, as men are leaving her altars barren to worship a mere human woman instead, and so commands her son Eros to cause Psyche to fall in love with the ugliest creature on earth.
Eros falls in love with Psyche himself and spirits her away to his home.
Their fragile peace is ruined by a visit from Psyche's jealous sisters, who cause Psyche to betray the trust of her husband.
Wounded, Eros leaves his wife and Psyche wanders the Earth, looking for her lost love.
In Apuleius's The Golden Ass, Psyche bears Cupid a daughter, Voluptas ("Pleasure, Desire").


John William Godward - (1861-1922)

John William Godward (9 August 1861 – 13 December 1922) was an English painter from the end of the Pre-Raphaelite / Neo-Classicist era.
He was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema but his style of painting fell out of favour with the arrival of painters likePicasso.
He committed suicide at the age of 61 and is said to have written in his suicide note that "the world was not big enough" for him and a Picasso.
His already estranged family, who had disapproved of him becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers.
No photographs of Godward are known to survive.

The Pythia commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.
The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo.
The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC.
The last recorded response was given in AD 393, when the emperor Theodosius I ordered pagan temples to cease operation.
During this period the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle in the Greek world.
The oracle is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greek world.
Writers who mention the oracle include Aeschylus, Aristotle, Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus, Diogenes, Euripides, Herodotus, Julian, Justin, Livy, Lucan, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, Strabo, Thucydides, and Xenophon.
The name 'Pythia' derived from Pytho, which in myth was the original name of Delphi. The Greeks derived this place name from the verb, pythein, which refers to the decomposition of the body of the monstrous Python after she was slain by Apollo.
One common view has been that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from a chasm in the rock, and that she spoke gibberish which priests reshaped into the enigmatic prophecies preserved in Greek literature.
This picture has been challenged by scholars such as Joseph Fontenrose and Lisa Maurizio, who argue that the ancient sources uniformly represent the Pythia speaking intelligibly, and giving prophecies in her own voice.

H E R B E R T   J A M E S   D R A P E R

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Herbert James Draper (1863 – 22 September 1920) was an English Classicist painter whose career began in the Victorian era and extended through the first two decades of the 20th century.
Born in London, the son of a jeweler named Henry Draper and his wife Emma, he was educated at Bruce Castle school in Tottenham and then went on to study art at the Royal Academy.
He undertook several educational trips to Rome and Paris between 1888 and 1892, having won the Royal Academy Gold Medal and Traveling Studentship in 1889. In the 1890s he worked also as an illustrator, settling in London. In 1891 he married his wife Ida (née Williams), with whom he had a daughter, Yvonne.
He died at the age of 56, at his home on Abbey Road.
1894 was the beginning of Draper's most productive period. He focused mainly on mythological themes from ancient Greece. His painting "The Lament For Icarus" from 1898 won the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and was later bought for the Tate Gallery by the Chantrey Trustees.
In later years as the public tastes changed and mythological scenes became less popular he concentrated more on portraits.
During his lifetime Draper was quite famous and a well known portrait painter.
In his last years his popularity faded, though there has recently been a revival of interest in his work on the art market.

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

(Χρυσόμαλλον Δέρας)

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis.
It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly.
The story is of great antiquity – it was current in the time of Homer (eighth century BC) – and consequently it survives in various forms, among which details vary.
Thus, in later versions of the story, the ram is said to have been the offspring of the sea god Poseidon and Themisto (less often, Nephele or Theophane).
The classic telling is the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, composed in mid-third century BC Alexandria, recasting early sources that have not survived.
Another, much less-known Argonautica, using the same body of myth, was composed in Latin by Valerius Flaccus during the time of Vespasian.

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

'THE FOAM SPRITE' - (1895)
Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland; the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach "heifer, colt".
The horse's appearance is strong, powerful, and breathtaking.
Its hide was supposed to be black (though in some stories it was white), and will appear to be a lost pony, but can be identified by its constantly dripping mane.
Its skin is like that of a seal, smooth but is as cold as death when touched.
Water horses are known to transform into beautiful women to lure men into their traps, and it is this transformation that Draper depicts in his painting of the kelpei.

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

In Greek mythology, the Naiads or Naiades (from the Greek "to flow," and "running water") were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks.
They are distinct from river gods, who embodied rivers, and the very ancient spirits that inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid.
Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap.
Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily.

Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

The essence of a naiad was bound to her spring, so if a naiad's body of water dried, she died.
They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to humans. Boys and girls at coming-of-age ceremonies dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters' ritual cleansings were credited with magical medical properties. Animals were ritually drowned there. Oracles might be situated by ancient springs.
Naiads could be dangerous: Hylas of the Argo's crew was lost when he was taken by naiads fascinated by his beauty (see illustration). The naiads were also known to exhibit jealous tendencies. Theocritus's story of naiad jealousy was that of a shepherd, Daphnis, who was the lover of Nomia; Daphnis had on several occasions been unfaithful to Nomia and as revenge she permanently blinded him. Salmacis forced the youth Hermaphroditus into a carnal embrace and, when he sought to get away, fused with him.
The Naiads were either daughters of Poseidon or various Oceanids, but a genealogy for such ancient, ageless creatures is easily overstated. 

'THE CAPTURE' Herbert 
James Draper (1863-1920)

Edward Burne-Jones - (1833 - 1898)

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company.
Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England; his stained glass works include the windows of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria, the church designed by Philip Webb, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge and in Christ Church, Oxford.
Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice".
In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy).
These included 'The Beguiling of Merlin'. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.
In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896.

Edward Burne-Jones - (1833 - 1898)

Edward Burne-Jones - (1833 - 1898)

Edward Burne-Jones - (1833 - 1898)

Arthur Hacker - (1858-1919)

Arthur Hacker (25 September 1858 – 12 November 1919) was an English classicist painter.

Born in London in 1858, Hacker was the son of Edward Hacker, a line engraver specialising in animal and sporting prints (who was also for many years the official Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for Kentish Town in the St Pancras registration district, north London).

In his art he was most known for painting religious scenes and portraits, and his art was also influenced by his extensive travels in Spain and North Africa.

He studied at the Royal Academy between 1867 and 1880, and at the Atelier Bonnat in Paris.

He was twice exhibited at the Royal Academy, in 1878 and 1910, and was elected an Academician in 1910.
In 1902, Hacker built a new house at Heath End, Checkendon, Oxfordshire, called Hall Ingle, commissioning the young architect Maxwell Ayrton and carrying out the decorations himself.

'THE CLOUD' - 1902
Arthur Hacker 

'THE SYRINX' - 1892
Arthur Hacker - (1858-1919)

In classical mythology, Syrinx (Συριγξ) was a nymph and a follower of Artemis, known for her chastity.
Pursued by the amorous Greek god Pan, she ran to the river's edge and asked for assistance from the river nymphs.
In answer, she was transformed into hollow water reeds that made a haunting sound when the god's frustrated breath blew across them.
Pan cut the reeds to fashion the first set of pan pipes, which were thenceforth known as syrinx.

Rupert Bunny (1864–1947)

Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny (29 September 1864 – 25 May 1947) was an Australian painter, born in St Kilda, Victoria.
He achieved success and critical acclaim as an expatriate in fin-de-siècle Paris. 
For example, he gained an honourable mention at the Paris Salon of 1890 with his painting 'Tritons' and a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 with his 'Burial of St Catherine of Alexandria'.
The French state acquired 13 of his works for the Musée du Luxembourg and regional collections.
He was a "sumptuous colourist and splendidly erudite painter of ideal themes, and the creator of the most ambitious Salon paintings produced by an Australian." 
Bunny was the third son of Victorian Country Court Judge, Brice Frederick Bunny, and Marie Hedwig Dorothea Wulsten.
He travelled to England in 1884 and studied at Calderon's art school in London.
After 18 months he went to Paris to study at the atelier of Jean-Paul Laurens. In 1902, he married Jeanne Heloise Morel, a former art student and model, who appeared frequently in his paintings.
He lived in France until 1911 when he returned to Australia for a visit.
For a number of years he travelled back and forth between Australia and France.
After his wife died in 1933, he returned permanently to Australia and settled in South Yarra, Victoria.

Léon François Comerre (1850 – 1916)

Léon François Comerre (10 Oct 1850 – 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women.
Comerre was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853.
From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867.
From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.
Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 going on to win prizes there in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome for his painting "L’Ange annonçant aux bergers la naissance du Christ" (The Angel announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds).
This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the "Exposition Universelle" in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903.
"L' Étoile" is considered as the most important work of Leon Comerre by his daughter, Madam J. Maillart - Norbert (George Comerre). It graces the cover of her book and catalogue raisonné of Comerre work "LEON COMERRE", published in 1980 by Les Presses Artistiques, Paris. 
He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and in Glasgow at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.
In 1884, he moved to Vésinet, a suburb of Paris, where he remained until his death in 1916.

Leda and the Swan is a motif from Greek mythology in which Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan.
According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta.
As the story goes, Zeus took the form of a swan and raped or seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus.
In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.
Thanks to the literary renditions of Ovid and Fulgentius it was a well-known myth through the Middle Ages, but emerged more prominently as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, from the Italian Renaissance onwards.

Δανάη - (DANAË)
Léon François Comerre (1850 – 1916)

In Greek mythology, Danaë was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and Eurydice (no relation to Orpheus' Eurydice).
She was the mother of Perseus by Zeus. She was sometimes credited with founding the city of Ardea in Latium.
Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, Acrisius asked an oracle if this would change. The oracle told him to go to the Earth's end where he would be killed by his daughter's son.
She was childless and, meaning to keep her so, he shut her up in a bronze tower or cave. But Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, and impregnated her. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.
None too happy, but unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods by killing his offspring, Acrisius cast the two into the sea in a wooden chest.
The sea was calmed by Poseidon and at the request of Zeus the pair survived. They washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys - the brother of King Polydectes - who raised the boy to manhood.
Later, after Perseus killed Medusa and rescued Andromeda, the oracle's prophecy came true.
He started for Argos, but learning of the prophecy instead went to Larissa, where athletic games were being held.
By chance, an aging Acrisius was there and Perseus accidentally struck him on the head with his javelin (or discus), fulfilling the prophecy.
Too shamed to return to Argos he then gave the kingdom to Megapenthes, son of Proetus (Acrisius's brother) and took over his kingdom of Tiryns, also founding Mycenae and Midea there.


Jules Joseph Lefebvre - 1836-1911

Jules Joseph Lefebvre - (Tournan-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, 14 March 1836 – Paris, 24 February 1911) was a French figure painter.
Lefebvre entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet. He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861.
Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon.
In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.
He was an instructor at the Académie Julian in Paris.
Lefebvre is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils.
Among his famous students were Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, Félix Vallotton, Georges Rochegrosse, the Scottish-born landscape painter William Hart, and Edmund C. Tarbell, who became an American Impressionist painter.
He was long a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Many of his paintings are single figures of beautiful women.

(Birth of Venus)
Alexander Frenz - (1861 - 1941)

Jules Elie Delaunay - (1828-1891)

Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (1833 – 922 )

H E N R Y K    S I E M I R A D Z K I 

Henryk Siemiradzki (1843 - 1902)

Henryk Siemiradzki (15 November 1843 – 23 August 1902) was a Polish Academic painter.
He was particularly known for his depictions of scenes from the ancient Graeco-Roman world and the New Testament.
Siemiradzki was born to a Polish szlachta family of a military physician in the village of Novobelgorod (now Pechenegi) near Kharkiv, Ukraine.
He studied at Kharkiv Gymnasium where he learned painting under a scion of Karl Briullov, D. I. Besperchy. He entered the Physics-Mathematics School of Kharkov University but continued his painting lessons from Bespechy.
After graduating from the University with the degree of Kandidat he abandoned his scientific career and moved to Saint Petersburg to study painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in the years 1864-1870. Upon his graduation he was awarded a gold medal.
In 1870-1871 he studied under Karl von Piloty in Munich on a grant from the Academy.
In 1871 he moved to Rome, while spending summers at his estate in Strzalkowo, near Czestochowa in Poland.
In 1873 he received the title of an Academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts for his painting Christ and a Sinner, based on a verse by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy.
In 1876-1879 Siemiradzki worked on frescoes for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Moscow).
In 1879 he offered one of his best-known works, the enormous Pochodnie Nerona (Nero's torches), painted 1876, to the fledgeling Polish National Museum in Kraków.
In 1893 he worked on two large paintings for the State Historical Museum (Moscow).
His works are exhibited in the museums of Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
He died in Strzalkowo in 1902. Originally he was buried in Warsaw but later his remains were moved to the national Pantheone on Skalka in Kraków.

Henryk Siemiradzki (1843 - 1902)

'PHRYNE' - 1889
Henryk Siemiradzki (1843 - 1902)


Ferdinand Keller - (1842-1922)

Ferdinand Keller (born 5 August 1842 in Karlsruhe; died 8 July 1922 in Baden-Baden) was a German painter.
He was educated at Karlsruhe. In 1857, he accompanied his father and brother to Brazil, and there sketched diligently from nature in the tropical forests until 1862, when he became a student of landscape painting under Schirmer in Karlsruhe, and of figure painting under Canon in Karlsruhe in 1863.
He studied in Rome from 1863 to 1867. In 1881, he was appointed director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe.
He ranked among the chief representatives of colorism in Germany.
His works embrace Brazilian landscapes, allegorical and historical paintings and portraits. Among his sitters were members of the Imperial family.
He became more widely known through his successful competition for the painting of the curtain in the New Theatre at Dresden, which he executed in 1876.
Among other works are ‘Victory of Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden over the Turks at Salankamen, 1691’ (1879), ‘Hero Finding the Body of Leander’ (1880), ‘Triumphal Progress of Pallas Athene before Elector Ruprect’ (1886, in the aula of the University of Heidelberg) and ‘Apotheosis of William the Victorious’ (1888).

Edward von Steinle - (1810-1886)

Edward von Steinle - (1810, Viena, Austria – 1886, Frankfurt am Main, Germany).
He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna from 1823.
His training under Leopold Kupelwieser had a lasting influence on his work
In 1828 he went to Rome, where he joined Philipp Veit, who influenced his style, Friedrich Overbeck and Joseph Führich.
He sketched a 'Visitation' , and an 'Annunciation' for the church of Trinità dei Monti in Rome; these were painted as frescoes by his friend Josef Tunner.

The Lorelei is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany, which soars some 120 metres above the waterline.
It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea.
In 1824 Heinrich Heine described in a poem a sort of siren who, sitting on the cliff above the the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted shipmen with her beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks.
In 1837 Heine's lyrics were set to music by Friedrich Silcher in a song that became well known in German-speaking lands.
A setting by Franz Liszt was also favored, and over a score of other musicians have set the poem to music.
The Loreley character passed into German popular culture in the form described in the Heine-Silcher song and is commonly but mistakenly believed to have originated in an old folk tale.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.
His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects.
Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism—nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil
Klimt's work is often distinguished by elegant gold or coloured decoration, spirals and swirls, and phallic shapes used to conceal the more erotic positions of the drawings upon which many of his paintings are based. This can be seen in Judith I (1901), and in The Kiss (1907–1908), and especially in Danaë (1907). One of the most common themes Klimt used was that of the dominant woman, the femme fatale.
Art historians note an eclectic range of influences contributing to Klimt's distinct style, including Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations.
Klimt was also inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa school.
His mature works are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles, such as The Glasgow School, from which he was heavily influenced, and make use of symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the "freedom" of art from traditional culture.

Σαπφώ (Sappho) was a Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos.
The Alexandrians included her in the list of nine lyric poets.
Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life.
The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments.

(The Valkyrie)
Alexander Rothaug (1870 - 1946)

Alexander Rothaug (1870 Vienna - 1946 Vienna) was a very well known Austrian painter, stage designer, illustrator and graphic artist who was active during the late 19th - early 20th century.
In 1885-1892 he studied at the Vienna Academy and later in Munich.
Rothaug began exhibiting around the year 1900 in Munich where he worked for a few years as an illustrator of the magazine "Fliegende Blaetter".
In ca. 1910 he moved back to Vienna.
Rothaug was strongly influenced by the works of Franz von Stuck.

(Europa and the Bull)
Alexander Rothaug

In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has ultimately been taken.
The name Europa occurs in Hesiod's long list of daughters of primordial Oceanus and Tethys.
The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as Kerényi points out "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".
The daughter of the earth-giant Tityas and mother of Euphemus by Poseidon was also named Europa.
Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BC. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus.

Ἄρτεμις - ARTEMIS
Alexander Rothaug

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.
Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek.
Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals".
In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo.
She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.
The deer and the cypress were sacred to her.
In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

(The Isle of the Dead)
Arnold Böcklin - (1827–1901)

'Die Toteninsel' is the best known painting of Swiss Symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin .
Böcklin produced several different versions of the mysterious painting between 1880 and 1886.

All versions of Isle of the Dead depict a desolate and rocky islet seen across an expanse of dark water.
A small rowboat is just arriving at a water gate and seawall on shore.
An oarsman maneuvers the boat from the stern.
In the bow, facing the gate, is a standing figure clad entirely in white.
Just behind the figure is a white, festooned object commonly interpreted as a coffin.
The tiny islet is dominated by a dense grove of tall, dark cypress trees — associated by long-standing tradition with cemeteries and mourning — which is closely hemmed in by precipitous cliffs.
Furthering the funerary theme are what appear to be sepulchral portals and windows penetrating the rock faces.
Böcklin himself provided no public explanation as to the meaning of the painting, though he did describe it as “a dream picture: it must produce such a stillness that one would be awed by a knock on the door.”
The title, which was conferred upon it by the art dealer Fritz Gurlitt in 1883, was not specified by Böcklin, though it does derive from a phrase in an 1880 letter he sent to the painting’s original commissioner.
Many observers have interpreted the oarsman as representing the boatman Charon who conducted souls to the underworld in Greek mythology.
The water would then be either the River Styx or the River Acheron and his white-clad passenger a recently deceased soul transiting to the afterlife.
The model for the rocky islet was likely Pondikonisi, a small island near Corfu which is adorned with a small chapel amid a cypress grove.
(Another, less likely candidate is the island of Ponza in the Tyrrhenian Sea.)
The third version - and undoubtedly the best version -  was painted in 1883 for Böcklin’s dealer Fritz Gurlitt.
In this version one of the burial chambers in the rocks on the right bears Böcklin's own initials: "A.B.". 
In 1933, the painting was put up for sale, and a noted Böcklin admirer, Adolf Hitler, acquired it. He hung it first at the Berghof in Obersalzberg and, then after 1940, in the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

'(The Sacred Wood))
Arnold Böcklin - (1827–1901)

Julius LeBlanc Stewart

Julius LeBlanc Stewart (September 6, 1855, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - January 5, 1919, Paris, France), was an American artist who spent his career in Paris.
A contemporary of fellow expatriate painter John Singer Sargent, Stewart was nicknamed "the Parisian from Philadelphia."
His father, the sugar millionaire William Hood Stewart, moved the family to Paris in 1865, and became a distinguished art collector and an early patron of Fortuny and the Barbizon artists.
Julius studied under Eduardo Zamacois as a teenager, under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux Arts, and later was a pupil of Raymondo de Madrazo.
Stewart's family wealth enabled him to live a lush expatriate life and paint what he pleased.
Late in life, he turned to religious subjects, but Stewart is best remembered for his Belle Époque society portraits and sensuous nudes.

A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or land-form.
Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis.
They are believed to dwell in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes.
Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms. 
Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally the huntress Artemis.
Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs.
They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis; the prophetic Apollo; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus; and rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes.

George de Forest Brush - 1890

Cecilio Pla Gallardo - 1860-1934

A leading representative of the Impressionist movement in Spanish painting.
A close friend of the painter Sorolla, Pla studied at the prestigious Academy of San Carlos in Valencia and at San Fernando in Madrid.
In 1880 he moved to Paris, where he was awarded a Medal of Honor at the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
He switched from the Impressionism to Modernism in his later years.
One of his pupils was the famous Cubist painter Juan Gris.

'HOMER' ca. 1885
Émile-René Ménard (1861 - 1930)

In the Western classical tradition Homer is the author of the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey', and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet.
These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is controversial.
Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before Herodotus' own time, which would place him at around 850 BC; while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War, in the early 12th century BC.

Émile-René Ménard (1861 - 1930) was a French painter born in Paris.
From early childhood he was immersed in an artistic environment: Corot, Millet and the Barbizon painters frequented his family home, familiarizing him thus with both landscape and antique subjects.
Ménard studied at the Academy Jullian from 1880 after having been a student of Baudry, Bouguereau, and Henri Lehmann.
He participated in the Salon of the Secession in Munich, and the Salon de la Libre Esthétique in Brussels during 1897.
Several personal exhibitions were also devoted to him at the Georges Small Gallery.
In 1921 he exhibited in the Twelfth Salon along with Henri Martin and Edmond Aman-Jean.
Galleries in Buffalo, New York and Boston, Massachusetts exposed Menard and his art to the United States, however, the numerous commissions that Ménard received from the French government crowned his career; for example, the cycle for the Hautes Etudes à la Sorbonne, the Faculté de Droit, and the fresco Atoms for the Chemistry institute, and finally the Caise des Dépôts in Marseilles.
Ménard's art allies a rigorous, clear classicism with a diffuse and dreamlike brushwork.
In 1894, Victor Shoe wrote of Menard in l' Art et la Vie (Art and Life): "visions of a pacified, bathed nature, of dawn and of twilight, where the soul seems to immerse itself in the innocence of daybreak, and breathe the divine anointment that comes with the dawn."

Алекса́ндр Дми́триевич Лито́вченк
Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko

Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko (1835, Kremenchuk - 28 June 1890, Saint Petersburg) was a Ukrainian-born Russian painter who specialized in depicting Muscovite Russia of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Litovchenko attended the Imperial Academy of Arts and, although criticised by his peers for rather stilted compositions, was awarded a lesser gold medal for his rendering of Charon transporting the souls of the dead across the Styx.
Along with several other young painters, he challenged the spirit of academism that was prevalent at the Academy and in 1863 left it to become a freelance painter, joining the Peredvizhniki movement in 1876.
In 1868, Litovchenko was recognized as an academician for his picture of a falconeer serving at the court of Tsar Alexis (one of his several versions of the subject).
Among his larger paintings, Ivan the Terrible Showing His Treasures to Jerome Horsey (1875) was purchased by the Tsar for the Alexander III Museum in St. Petersburg, and Tsar Alexis and Archbishop Nikon Venerating the Relics of Patriarch Philip (1886) was acquired by Pavel Tretyakov for his collection in Moscow (as were the finest of his portraits).
Litovchenko is also remembered as the author of seven murals in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and a set of icons for the Crimean War memorial in Sevastopol.

The Styx (Greek: Στύξ, also meaning "hate" and "detestation") is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades which is also the name of this domain's ruler).
It circles the Underworld nine times.
The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which is also sometimes called the Styx.
The other important rivers of the underworld are Lethe, Eridanos, and Alpheus.

John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

In Greek mythology, the Hesperides are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean.
According to the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the "Song of Geryon", and the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika (volume III), the Hesperides are in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of the Iberian peninsula.
By Roman times, the garden of the Hesperides had lost its archaic place in religion and had dwindled to a poetic convention, in which form it was revived in Renaissance poetry, to refer both to the garden and to the nymphs that dwelt there.

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury.
During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings.
His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.
His murals, which move away from his 'slick' style of portraiture, were painted towards the end of his life, and are some of his finest works, combining beaux-arts classicism with contemporary elements which foreshadow the Art Deco style.

'αἱ μοῦσαι'

'APOLLO and the MUSES'John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis.
Apollo was the god of music (principally the lyre, and he directed the choir of the Muses) and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery (but not for war or hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds and flocks.
He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus" (radiant or beaming, and he was sometimes identified with Helios the sun god).
Sacred to Apollo are the swan (one legend says that Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans, he would spend the winter months among them), the wolf and the dolphin.
His attributes are the bow and arrows, on his head a laurel crown, and the cithara (or lyre) and plectrum.
But his most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers.

The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts.
They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths.

'CHIRON and ACHILLES' - (1921)
John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

Originally, Chiron was a Thessalian god of healing, but in later Greek mythology he survived as one of the centaurs.
Unlike the others of his race, Chiron was wise and had an extensive knowledge of the healing arts.
He had been the tutor of, among others, Asclepius, Theseus, and Achilles.
When he was accidentally hit by a poisonous arrow shot by Heracles, Chiron relinquished his immortality (in favor of Prometheus) in order to escape the pain by dying.
After his death he became the constellation of Sagittarius.
Chiron is regarded as a son of Cronus and Philyra.

Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis.
He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer's Iliad.
Thetis attempted unsuccessfully to make her son immortal.
There are two versions of the story.
In the earlier version, Thetis anointed the infant with ambrosia and then placed him upon a fire to burn away his mortal portions; she was interrupted by Peleus, whereupon she abandoned both father and son in a rage.
Peleus placed the child in the care of the Centaur Chiron (see above), who raised and educated the boy.
In the later version, she held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx; everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry and therefore unprotected.

John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

Orestes was the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra and the brother of Electra. When his father returned from the Trojan War, he was murdered by Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus.
Orestes, who was quite young at the time, went into exile and swore to get revenge. After he reached adulthood, he returned home secretly and, plotting with his sister Electra, contrived the murder of both Aegisthus and Clytemnestra.
As a consequence of his deed, Orestes was tormented by the Erinyes, or Furies, who followed him everywhere he went.
The Erinyes only stopped hounding him when he sought judgement for his crime at the Aeropagus in Athens, and was acquitted.

In Greek mythology the Erinyes (Erinys; literally "the avengers") sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses" were female chthonic deities of vengeance.
A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath".
They correspond to the Furies or Dirae in Roman mythology.
When the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes emerged from the drops of blood, while Aphrodite was born from the crests of seafoam.
According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, "Night".
Their number is usually left indeterminate.
Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto ("unnameable" who appeared in Virgil's Aeneid), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("vengeful destruction").
Dante followed Virgil in depicting the same three-charactered triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis.
The heads of the Erinyes were wreathed with serpents (compare Gorgon) and their eyes dripped with blood, rendering their appearance rather horrific.


John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

Heracles ( Ancient Greek: Herakles, from Hera, "Hera", and kleos, "glory"), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus.
He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters.
In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves.
The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean.
Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.
Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with females were among his characteristic attributes.
Although he was not as clever as the likes of Odysseus or Nestor, Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders.
Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club.
These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children.
By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor.
Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends (such as wrestling with Thanatos on behalf of Prince Admetus, who had regaled Heracles with his hospitality, or restoring his friend Tyndareus to the throne of Sparta after he was overthrown) and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus and Laomedon all found out to their cost.

In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, (as its name evinces) that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly.
The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Heracles as the second of his Twelve Labours (see above).
Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, though archaeology has borne out the myth that the sacred site was older even than the Mycenaean city of Argos since Lerna was the site of the myth of the Danaids.
Beneath the waters was an entrance to the Underworld, and the Hydra was its guardian.
The Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna (Theogony, 313), both of whom were noisome offspring of the earth goddess Gaia.

John Singer Sargent - (1856-1925)

Walter Crane

Walter Crane (1845–1915) was an English artist and book illustrator.
He is considered to be the most prolific and influential children’s book creator of his generation.
He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement and produced an array of paintings, illustrations, children's books, ceramic tiles and other decorative arts.
His own easel pictures, chiefly allegorical in subject, among them "The Bridge of Life" (1884) and "The Mower" (1891), were exhibited regularly at the Grosvenor Gallery and later at the New Gallery.
"Neptune's Horses" was exhibited at the New Gallery in 1893, and with it may be classed his "Rainbow and the Wave."
His varied work includes examples of plaster relief, tiles, stained glass, pottery, wallpaper and textile designs, in all of which he applied the principle that in purely decorative design "the artist works freest and best without direct reference to nature, and should have learned the forms he makes use of by heart."
An exhibition of his work of different kinds was held at the Fine Art Society's galleries in Bond Street in 1891, and taken to the United States in the same year by the artist himself. 
Walter Crane died on 14 March 1915 in Horsham Hospital, West Sussex. His body was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium, where his ashes remain.

Michael Putz-Richard

Eurydice in Greek mythology, was an oak nymph or one of the daughters of Apollo (the god of light). She was the wife of Orpheus, who loved her dearly; on their wedding day, he played joyful songs as his bride danced through the meadow.
One day, a satyr saw and pursued Eurydice, who stepped on a venomous snake, dying instantly. Distraught, Orpheus played and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept and told him to travel to the Underworld and retrieve her, which he gladly did.
After his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, his singing so sweet that even the Erinyes wept, he was allowed to take her back to the world of the living.
In another version, Orpheus played his lyre to put Cerberus, the guardian of Hades, to sleep, after which Eurydice was allowed to return with Orpheus to the world of the living.
Either way, the condition was attached that he must walk in front of her and not look back until both had reached the upper world. However, just as they reached the portals of Hades and daylight, he could not help but turn around to gaze on her face, and Eurydice vanished back into the Underworld. When Orpheus was later killed by the Maenads on Dionysus' orders, his soul ended up in the Underworld where he was reunited with Eurydice.

Kenyon Cox'

Franz von Stuck

Paul Matthias Padua

Ivo Saliger - 1894 - 1987

'SPRING' - 1929 
JC Leyendecker - Great Art

Alfons Mucha

Alfons Maria Mucha (24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939), known in English and French as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs.

At the time of his death, Mucha's style was considered outdated.
His son, author Jiří Mucha, devoted much of his life to writing about him and bringing attention to his art.
In his own country, the new authorities were not interested in Mucha.
His 'Slav Epic' was rolled and stored for twenty-five years before being shown in Moravsky Krumlov, and a Mucha museum opened in Prague, managed by his grandson John Mucha.
Mucha's work has continued to experience periodic revivals of interest for illustrators and artists. Interest in Mucha's distinctive style experienced a strong revival during the 1960s (with a general interest in Art Nouveau).

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli
Glaux in the Peristyle Garden - at Night

for more information go to
The Story of Gracchus

In Greek mythology, a little owl (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology.[1] Because of such association, the bird — often referred to as the "owl of Athena" or the "owl of Minerva" — has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.

for more information about Greco-Roman Mythology go to:

see also:

featuring the art of Vittorio Carvelli, Zac Sawyer, André Durand,James Childs, Roberto Ferri - et al.


© Peter Crawford - 2011

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