Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Episode 88: Greek and Roman Gods!

On this episode of Arts and Facts Jo and Alisha discuss the similarities and differences between Greek and Roman gods, and how they inspired art.

Aphrodite (Greek): the Goddess of love and beauty

Aphrodite (Venus de Milo) Between 130-100 BC Alexandros of Antioch

The arms of this sculpture were lost in its discovery and it is now permanently housed in the Louvre museum. It was very rare that a woman should be portrayed unclothed near that time period but it seems fitting in that she is Aphrodite and should be both sensual and alluring yet classical and innocent. Both aspects are achieved in this piece.

Venus (Roman): goddess of both physical and intellectual love

Venus (Birth of Venus) 1486 Sandro Botticelli
This painting of Venus was commissioned by the Medici family who were great patrons of the arts during which this was painted. Many different interpretations can be made of this piece, some say it is a sort of wedding painting, plato argued that there is a great link between physical and spiritual beauty within this piece. Here Venus is portrayed as an Italian Renaissance ideal: red-haired, pale-skinned, voluptuous. Botticelli has picked out highlights in her hair with gold leaf and has emphasized the femininity of her body (long neck, curviness). very classical looking, standing in contrapposto

Hermes (Greek): Messenger of Zeus and god of travelers, flocks, houses and communities. He is often portrayed carrying his heralds staff called a Kerykeion that ends  with two entwined snakes called a caduceus.

Hermes (lekythos) 480–470 b.c
Here Hermes is wearing his iconic winged shoes and Kerykeion.

Mercury (Roman): Similar to Hermes, also carries a Kerykeion. 
Mercury (the flying mercury) Giovanni da Bologna (1529-1608)
Giovanni da Bologna's famed Flying Mercury captures the Greek messenger of the gods speeding through the skies.  Mercury is depicted wearing a winged petasus on his head and winged sandals which give him speed in flight

Zeus (Greek): god of the skies, often shown holding one of his lightning bolts.  Brother of Zeus and Hades.

Zeus (George Washington), Horatio Greenough, 1840

Here, George Washington is symbolically portrayed as Zeus. He is holding the hilt of a sword out to the viewer representing him giving the power back to the American people.

 Jupiter (Roman): Pretty much Zeus with a Roman name


Jupiter (triumphator)

Athena (Greek): The goddess of wisdom, courage, civilization, justice, law, inspiration, just warfare, math, strength, strategy, arts and crafts and skill.

Minerva (Roman):  The goddess of music, poetry, commerce, crafts, weaving, magic, medicine, wisdom. She is often portrayed with the symbol which is an owl.

 22minervaStatue of Athena. Vatican Museum, Rome.

Hades (Greek): The god of the underworld, where souls went after they died. He is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, all three the children of Jupiter.

Pluto (Roman): The roman god of the underworld.

Poseidon (Greek): The God of the Sea and horses. He is often shown carrying a trident. He is the brother of Zeus and Hades.

 Sousse neptune.jpg

Neptune (Roman): The Roman god of the sea. He was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, comparable to Zeus and Hades.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at: