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Monday, 19 January 2009

Paintings of Greek Myths

Leda, Leonardo da Vinci, Canvas, c. 1515-16.The Rape of Ganymede by Peter Paul Rubens, Canvas, 1577-1640.The Education of Achilles by Pompeo Batoni, Canvas, c. 1770.

Thought I would share some of the paintings I've been looking at that depict Greek myths. It's so nice to be able to enjoy this kind of painting without the brutal Christian overtones that have always put me off renaissance and similarly-styled work. The importance of realism and correct anatomy reflects the Greeks well since they had such a preoccupation with physical perfection [ie. muscles galore]. It's important to me in the way I work too, I've always aimed to be able to draw things how we see them believing it needs to be the foundation for other ways of working. Although I'm less aggressive with that point of view than I was when I was younger! [Hang on, you're only twenty, you can't talk like that."]

I've included here The Rape of Ganymede by Peter Paul Rubens because of how dynamic the pose is [I also happen to love birds but that didn't come into it]. I went for a drawing day with a couple of my drawing tutors from my first year elective back in November [or was it October?] at the National Gallery as part of The Big Draw. I will admit that I never understood the value of drawing from other people's work [I never did it at school] with the reasoning, "If I copy their mistakes, and then make my own mistakes in doing so, surely I'll just end up with a big mess?!" But I really enjoyed it. I had briefly seen the three paintings we would be drawing from before I went and didn't really like the look of the first two - they were both very religious, one of them having an obscene amount of gold in it, and I thought I'd enjoy the third - Experiment with an Air Pump by Joseph Wright far more. It still is my favourite of the three we drew from, but the other two were far more interesting and useful to draw from with their dynamic figures.

I really enjoy The Education of Achilles by Pompeo Batoni because of the Centaur and how the artist has constructed the anatomy of him so beautifully from studying men and horses. It just struck me as really well done, especially since there's so much in the way of fantasy art that has no regard to anatomy. Leda by Leonardo da Vinci is partly here because I really love da Vinci's work [although his drawings more-so], but mostly because of Claude's Swan Zeus [if da Vinci can paint swans without the black bit around the eyes...] Although it seems as though the designers of the book I have decided to flip the painting over to better the page composition...

A selection of other paintings [plus one illustration] that I've picked out during my reading. An illustration from a book of Homer's tales, some more centaurs, a painting of a big powerful god [one book says it's Zeus, another says it's Jupiter] as my Zeus looks pretty weedy I thought I would get some tips for him to bulk up, and lastly a dynamic scene that I mostly picked for the Satyrs [which feature briefly in my myth]. Phew.

Illustration from Stories from Homer, 1885. Illustration by Glenn Steward, 1995.Zeus and Thetis by Jean-Auguste Ingres, Canvas, 1811.Diana's Nymphs Chased by Satyrs by Peter Paul Rubens, Canvas, c. 1670.


Wadud said...

Wadud Kafil

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