Mythology Mastery Images 3

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    • Laurent-Honore Marqueste
    • "Perseus and Medusa"
    • marble
    • 1903
    • Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

    Marqueste captures the passion of Medusa's decapitation. In detail of Marqueste's sculpture, the mouths of the snakes take the same shape as the gorgon's mouth. The sculptor has given her a human tongue, while the snakes' tongues flicker up Perseus' forearm and menace from all sides. Her nudityy probably intensifies the vulnerability of this dangerous creature. Her eyes are doing their best to look up at the hero's eyes, to petrify him.
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    • Michelangelo da Caravaggio
    • "Medusa (head)"
    • 1598
    • Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    Perseus used Medusa's severed head as a tool. Nothing really personal survives the decapitation.

    Caravaggio's famous attention to realism is manifest in the gory mess in the shield's lower third; and the careful attention to perspective makes the convex surface of the canvas-on-wood look concave.

    Is Medusa here looking in horror at her own missing body?

    The cardinal who commissioned this piece from Caravaggio may have intended the artwork to demonstrate the triumph of reason (Perseus) over emotions (Medusa), a reading of the Perseus myth was popular in the late 16th century.
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    • Benvenuto Celini
    • "Perseus"
    • bronze 1546-54

    Mythologically, Perseus wears the special cap that allows him invisibility. His sword has a specialized curve in the blade, the artist's conception of scimitar. Medusa's head has snaky tresses, and, because her eyes are closed, she has been rendered momentarily benign, a dangerously potent tool subject now to Perseus' whim. Perseus strides triumphantly over the crumpled body of the gorgon. Gore surges from the decapitation wound, both from the severed neck and from the severed head.

    Commissioned by Cosimo de Medici, the Duke of Florence, as a symbol of his own "conquest over the Gorgon of tyrannicide and of Republican partisanship."
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    • Pierre Mignard
    • "Perseus and Andromeda"
    • 1679
    • Louvre, Paris

    The scene could be taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses or any other account where Cepheus and Cassiopeia show Perseus their gratitude for having slain the Cetus which imperiled the life of their daughter Andromeda.

    Typical for Mignard, this is fairly straightforward treatment of the mythological narrative.

    No Pegasus.
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    • Jean-Leon Gerome
    • "Pygmalion and Galatea"
    • 1890
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

    Pygmalion's dream comes true in a surprising instant. Eros must have been sent by Aphrodite, an answer to the sculptor's prayer. Still stone in her lower extremities, the once-marble form melts into Pygmalion's arms. The matronly form of chastity and other statuary in the studio comment upon the scene.

    This union results in the birth of Paphos, a daughter named in honor of Aphrodite, and in the birth of a long line of descendants that ends with Adonis.
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    • F. Juttner
    • "Die elektrische Hinrichtung" The Elektric execution
    • 1909

    Richard Strauss' premier of Elektra was acknowledged by Juttner's satrical cartoon. Strauss' opera is based upon Freud's reading of Sophocles as transmitted by Hugo von Hoffmansthal. The cartoon's title and gist play on the pun associating an execution in the electric chair and Elektra, the matricidal daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.
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    • P. Brueghel the Elder
    • "The Fall of Icarus"

    The Athenian master engineer, Daedalus, fled Athens after murdering his nephew and settled in the court of Minos at Crete. There he engineered a wooden cow for Pasiphae, and he engineered the labyrinth to house Pasiphae's child, the minotaur and he engineered wings for himself and his son to fly away from Minos' tyrannical rage.
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    • William-Adolphe Bouguereau
    • Orestes Pursued by the Furies
    • 1862

    Orestes, nude holding his hands over his ears with an expression of pain on his face, is swarthy and surrounded by four pale women. Three of the females, hair swarming with snakes, are the Furies: Tisphone, Alecto, and Megaera point at his crime, as he covers his ears and tries to escape. He turns from the woman behind him, his mother Clytemnestra, who collapses under a knife buried deep in her chest, blood dripping on her creamy white skin and garments.
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    • John Maler Collier
    • "Clytemnestra"
    • 1882
    • Guildhall Art Gallery, London
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    • Marble relief, found at Torre del Greco
    • National Archaeological Museum

    Three individuals are named: Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus.

    • Hermes' broad-brimmed hat
    • Orpheus' lyre
    • Eurydice's tender look at her husband
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    • Agnolo Bronzino
    • "Cosimo de Medici I as Orpheus"
    • 1540

    Orpheus plays his musical instrument, not a lyre, but here a viola da gamba, for Cerberus. The fiery depths of the Underworld rage in the upper-right corner.

    The suitor, whose image is presented in this advertisement, becomes especially attractive through the comparison to Orpheus, the most courageous lover of all time.
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    • Annibale Carcci
    • "Ercole in Bivio" Hercules at the Crossroads
    • 1596
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    • Classical, anonymous
    • Early 3rd century BC
    • Farnese Hercules
Card Set
Mythology Mastery Images 3
Mythology in artwork