Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The subject of Ganymede

Ganymede, the youngest son of Priam, was said to have been the most beautiful of mortals, and his beauty fired Zeus with love. Zeus in the shape of an eagle carried him off and took him to Olympus. On Olympus Ganymede served as a cup bearer. He used to pour nectar into Zeus’ cup and he replaced Hebe, the goddess of Youth, in this service.

Here is a comparison of four pictures based on him as a subject.

Above a picture an earlier work by myself.. At the bottom is a figure of a male in the water, playing on the idea that the boy had a relationship with Poseidon God of the sea, brother of Zeus and Hades - the second most powerful of the Olympian Gods. Zeus was jealous of Poseidon's relationship and the only way to end it was to take Ganymede away.

The above is Peter Paul Rubens. The Abduction of Ganymede. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain. One reviewer wrote about it: "Zeus took a liking to the pretty boy Ganymede, he came to Earth as an eagle endowed with sharp talons that drew blood from the young man's naked body. The Marquis de Sade would have enjoyed this tense flurry of feathers, talons, naked flesh and skin wounds. The hint of anal sex is, as it were, a paid extra."

This by Rembrandt. The Abduction of Ganymede. 1635 Oil on canvas. The Dresden Gallery, Dresden, Germany. Note the Rembrant darkness with the brightest spot in the center. Note also that the baby boy doesn't appear to be so attractive.

This by Correggio. The Abduction of Ganymede. c.1531-1532. Oil on canvas. The Louvre, Paris, France. Absolute beautiful use of color.

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