Horus

Photographer Unknown, Horus

Horus, in the ancient Egyptian religion, was one of the most important deities. The god appeared in the form of a falcon, whose left eye was the moon, representing healing, and whose right eye was the sun, representing power and the intrinsic substance of the heavenly bodies. Falcon cults were evident in late predynastic times and became widespread throughout Egypt. 

In the beginning stages of Egypt’s ancient religion, Horus was believed to be the god of war and the sky. As the religion progressed, Horus was seen as the son of Osiris and Isis, the divine child of the holy family triad. He is depicted as a falcon wearing a crown with a cobra, and later, wearing the Double Crown of the united Upper and Lower Egypt. The hooded cobra, worn by the gods and pharaohs on their foreheads, symbolized light and royalty. 

One of the oldest cultures in human history, ancient Egyptians are well-known for pioneering the fields of art, medicine, and the documentation of discoveries as mythological tales. The Egyptians mastered the integration of anatomy and mythology into artistic symbols and figures. The Eye of Horus was used as a sign of prosperity and protection, derived from the myth of Isis and Osiris. Comprised of six different parts, each an individual symbol, the Eye of Horus has an astonishing connection between neuroanatomical structure and function.

For those interested in the possible scientific speculation of the ingenuity of ancient Egyptians’ insight into human anatomy and physiology, a treatise, entitled “The Eye of Horus” by Karim ReFaey, Gabriella C. Quinones, William Clifton, and others can be found at the Cureus site, located at:https://www.cureus.com/articles/19443-the-eye-of-horus-the-connection-between-art-medicine-and-mythology-in-ancient-egypt

Paul Manship

Paul Manship, “Actaeon”, 1925, Gilt Bronze, Alexis Rudier Fondeur, 120.7 x 130.8 x 33.7 cm, Cooper Hewitt Museum

Born in December of 1885 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Paul Manship was an American sculptor whose subjects and modern style were largely inspired by classical sculpture. After attending Mechanical Arts High School, he took evening classes at the St. Paul Institute School of Art from 1892 to 1903, but left to work as a designer and illustrator. In 1905 Manship enrolled briefly in the Art Students League in New York City under Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 

Soon after his arrival to New York, Paul Manship became an assistant to stone sculptor Solon Borglum, whom he credited as the master who had most influenced him. With money saved, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1907-08 under sculptor Charles Grafly. Moving back to New York, Manship worked at the studio of Viennese sculptor Isidore Konti, where he modeled a decorative relief entitled “Man with Wild Horses”, later shown at the National Academy of Design in 1908.

In 1909 at the age of twenty-three, Paul Manship received a three-year scholarship, the coveted American Prix de Rome, to study at the American Academy in Rome. His early work was influenced by Rodin’s expressive style but, after traveling throughout Italy and Greece, he developed an appreciation for Hellenistic statues and for Egyptian, Assyrian, and Minoan artwork. This affinity for archaic work influenced Manship’s unified linear style of sculpture for which he is well known; his novel approach represented a break from the popular Beaux-Arts style of his former teachers. 

After three years abroad, Manship settled in New York City in 1912, where he began a successful career that would last fifty years. His arresting sculptures, with their freely modeled simple forms and dramatic gestures, were in demand in the New York art world. In February of 1913 Manship had a solo exhibition of his work at New York’s Architectural League. An instant success with critics and the public, it resulted in many private and public commissions. 

This success of Manship’s solo show was followed with two more exhibitions of his work in November of 1913, moving his career briskly forward. A show at the Berlin Photographic Company in 1914 resulted in the sale of almost one hundred of Manship’s bronze pieces. He was honored by his peers for this achievement with a gold medal at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Some of Paul Manship’s most notable works are: the set of monumental bronze gates at the entrance to the New York Zoological Park in the Bronx area of New York, erected as a memorial to Paul Rainey; the Prometheus Fountain in Rockefeller Center, New York City, which ultimately became his signature work despite his disappointment with the subject; and the “Time and Fates Sundial” with the accompanying four “Moods of Time”, executed in plaster of Paris, for the reflecting pool of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. 

Paul Manship, at the top of his profession, was bestowed with many honors: membership in the Academia Nacional de las Bellas Artes in Argentina in 1944; membership in Paris’ Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1946; membership in l’Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1952, the gold medal for sculpture by the National Institute of Arts and Letters in New York City in 1945; membership in the French Legion of Honor; and election to president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1948.

“I’m not especially interested in anatomy, though naturally I’ve studied it. And, although I approve generally of normally correct proportions, what matters is the spirit which the artist puts into his creation—the vitality, the rhythm, the emotional effect.” —Paul Manship

Titian

Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), “The Punishment of Tityus”, 1549, Oil on Canvas, 253 x 217 cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Born in 1488-1490 in Pieve di Cadore, Republic of Venice, Tiziano Vecellio, known as Titian, was a Renaissance painter, considered the most important member of the sixteenth-century Venetian school. The mythology of Greco-Roman antiquity provided a great body of narrative themes for Titian. Beginning at 1540s, Titian set about visually reconstructing those legends and images. Following his 1546 visit to Rome in his later years, he renewed and deepened his study of the ancient myths. 

In 1548 Titian received a commission from Mary of Hungary, sister of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V  and Regent of the Netherlands, for a series of subjects drawn from Ovid’s description of the punishment of four sinners in Hades. He painted four large canvases of the Damned, depicting Tityus, Sisyphus, Tantalus and Ixion, all of whom were condemned to perpetual torture for incurring the displeasure of the gods. Of these four canvases, only the ones of Tityus and Sisyphus have survived. 

“The Punishment of Tityus”, commissioned by Mary of Hungary, was done during a time when the imperial power of her brother,  the Catholic Emperor Charles V, was in a critical time of confrontation with the Protestant princes, Ultimately after barely escaping capture, Charles V’s political situation compelled him in 1552 to ratify an agreement by which the new Protestant religion was granted equal rights with Roman Catholicism.

Titian’s style in this mid-century was concerned with impressively-scaled figures and dynamic composition of the scene’s structure. The theme in the four paintings, punishment as a determent for wrongs against authority, seems timely for that tumultuous period in history. The drama of Tityus’s punishment was conveyed by Titian’s use of fluid and assertive brushstrokes, the askew figure of Tityus, and its diagonal composition.

Note:  Tityus was a Giant, the son of Zeus and the mortal Elara, daughter of King Orchomenus, ruler of Arcadia. Once grown Tityus, at the behest of goddess Hera, attempted to rape Leto, the daughter of Titans Coeus and Phoebe. Slain by Antemis and Apollo, the protective children of Leto, he was sent to Hades for punishment. Tityus was chained, stretched out, reaching forever for food and drink,  and tortured by two vultures who eternally fed on his liver, which grew back every night.

Alfred-Ernest Robaut

Alfred-Ernest Robaut, “The Education of Achilles”, 1879, Lithograph on Heavy Wove Paper, Image 37 x 46 cm , Private Collection

This lithograph engraved by Alfred-Ernest Robaut was printed in 1879 in Paris by the Lemercier and Cie company, after the 1862 pastel drawing by Eugène Delacroix now in the Paul Getty Museum collection. The subject, the centaur Chiron teaching the young Achilles how to hunt, was also painted by Delacroix on a pendentive supporting the cupola dedicated to Poetry in the library of the Chamber des Députés at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.

Born in Douai, France, in 1830, Alfred-Ernest Robaut was a French designer and engraver. He is best known as the author of the first catalog of works by painters Eugéne Delacroix and Jean-Baptiste Corot, whom he greatly admired.

After brief studies, Robaut enter his father’s printing press in Douai, taking it over in 1853 and marrying the daughter of Constant Dutilleux, a painter and long-time friend of both Delacroix and Corot. As a draftsman and engraver, Robaut devotes himself mainly to reproduction engraving but also publishes numerous art history articles of his own writings.

From the 1860s, Alfred Robaut devoted himself to the reproductions of drawings and autographs by Delacroix and Corot, collecting testimonies, photographs, and documents on their lives. He died in Fonternay-sous-Bois, France, in April of 1909.

 

Owen Davey

Owen Davey, “The Hundred-Eyed Giant Argus Panoplies”, 2016, Cover Illustration for the Directory of Illustration #33

Owen Davey is an award-winning illustrator living and working in Leicester, England. He graduated with a BA degree in illustration from Falmouth University. Davey was the illustrator of the iPad App of the Year 2015 game, “The Robot Factory”.

Davey created the artworks for the cover, endpapers, title page and contents page of the Directory of Illustration #33. The book is an annual of work by professional illustrators which is sent out to Art Directors and the year’s theme was centred around the idea of ‘Made You Look’. He decided to approach the images with a loose narrative idea around the Ancient Greek story of Argus, a hundred-eyed monster…

Zeus began an affair with a beautiful nymph named Io but when his wife Hera returned home, Zeus turned Io into a white heifer to hide her. Not deceived, Hera demanded the cow as a gift and sent Io to a hundred-eyed giant called Argus Panoplies to guard her. Furious, Zeus sent Hermes to slay Argus. Hermes attempted to lull the giant to sleep but then stabbed him with his sword. Hera honoured Argus by placing all but two of his hundred eyes into the tail of her favourite bird, the Peacock. Io eventually returned to her original form.

Phyllis Stapler

Phyllis Stapler, “The Moon Hare”

“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind.”

         Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Austen Henry Layard

Austen Henry Layard, “Depiction of Anzu (Tiamat) Pursued by Ninurta (Marduk)”, 1853, from the Book “Momuments of Nineveh”, Second Series, Plate 19/83, J. Murray Publisher, London

In Enûma Elish, a civil war between the gods was growing to a climactic battle. The Anunnaki gods gathered together to find one god who could defeat the gods rising against them. Marduk, a very young god, answered the call and was promised the position of head god.

To prepare for battle, Marduk makes a bow, fletches arrows, grabs a mace, throws lightning before him and fills his body with flame. He then makes a net to encircle Tiamat within it, gathers the four winds so that no part of her could escape, and creates seven powerful new winds such as the whirlwind and the tornado. Raising up his mightiest weapon, the rain-flood, Marduk then sets out for battle, mounting his storm-chariot drawn by four horses with poison in their mouths. In his lips he holds a spell and in one hand he grasps a herb to counter poison.

First, he challenges the leader of the Anunnaki gods, the dragon of the primordial sea Tiamat, to single combat and defeats her by trapping her with his net, blowing her up with his winds, and piercing her belly with an arrow.

Then, he proceeds to defeat King, who Tiamat put in charge of the army and who wore the Tablets of Destiny on his breast, and “wrested from him the Tablets of Destiny, wrongfully his” and assumed his new position. Under his reign humans were created to bear the burdens of life so the gods could be at leisure.

Kaneko Tomiyuki

Paintings by Kaneko Tomiyuki

Japanese artist Kaneko Tomiyuki was born in Saitama prefecture, 1978. Since childhood, he has been particularly interested in Japanese folklore and the spiritual world. His interest has led him to study in the Tohoku prefecture, which was the birthplace of “Legends of Tono”. As an undergraduate student he studied Japanese style painting in Tohoku University of Art & Design and graduated the postgraduate of the same university in 2009. Even after he finished studying, he continues to “substantiate” mythological creatures such as: yokai, spirits and the gods by painting.

Kaneko believes that the stratum of unconsciousness called the “Manas-vijnana” in Sanskrit (the seventh stratum of the eight within the world of Yogacara) is the origin of “evil” in everyday life, beginning with Yokais and many other evil creatures. Compared to the animalistic nature of the eighth stratum, “Alaya-vijinana”, “Manas-vijinana” is the unique feature of human and the unconscious emotion of attachment. It is always around us and constantly puts us into trickery. However, this unconscious emotion of attatchment is what makes humans human. The human’s strength to struggle is where all art is created, and by intercrossing with localized imagination it has formed as the yokai.

The Messenger of Agartha

Photographer Unknown, (The Messenger of Agartha)

One of the most famous underground cities is the city of Agartha, a legendary city that is supposed to be in the centre of the Earth, the Earth’s Core.  Central Asia is the origin of those legends and the race inhabiting this underground realm was called the Agharti. Theosophists refer to Agartha as a vast complex of caves and an underground network supposedly made by man.

Image reblogged with thanks to https://captain-donut.tumblr.com/

The Attack!

Artist Unknown, (The Attack!)

The kraken is a enormous mythical cephalopod-like sea monster in Scandinavian folklore. According to Norse sagas, the kraken terrorized sailors off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. It has been a staple of superstitions and legends through the centuries, becoming a common ocean-dwelling monster in fictional works.

The word ‘kraken’ comes from the Swedish and Norwegian language, the definite form of the word “krake’ denoting an unhealthy animal or smoething twisted. ‘Krake’ (plural) and ‘kraken’ (singular) in modern German means ‘octopus’. ‘Kraken is also an old euphemism in Swedish for whales, a word once believed that would summon whales.

The Bone Shadows

Illustration from Werewolf: The Forsaken, Second Edition

The Bone Shadows (First Tongue: Hirfathra Hissu)

The Bone Shadow is a hermit and shaman, a hunter of things that cannot be slain with mere fang and claw alone. They trap ghosts and bind spirits, they cast out angels and speak the language of the dead. They have a reputation for strangeness, but it’s a product of their greater understanding of Shadow. Spirits and other ephemeral beings obey bizarre laws and compulsions, and to the Bone Shadows these things are natural, instinctive.

Taboos have power, in the keeping and the breaking, and the Bone Shadows know how to call on that power. While Ithaeur of all tribes can command and use spirits, the Bone Shadows do more than command. They curate, managing the boundary of worlds in the name of Father Wolf, seeking to understand the secrets beyond the visible in the name of their tribal totem. They seek out that which is unknown, study and catalogue and bind it away or cast it out.

Benjamin West

Benjamin West, “The Death of Hyacinth”, Oil on Canvas, 1771, Swarthmore College

A popular mythological subject for classical painters, the story goes pretty much like this:  Apollo and his current boyfriend, Hyacinthus, were out frolicking, throwing a discus back and forth.  Apollo threw the thing one last time and his young beau ran to make the catch but missed and was, instead, hit by the discus and killed.  Where Hyacinthus’ blood fell, a flower sprang up and was watered by Apollo’s tears.

By any standard, Benjamin West enjoyed a remarkable career as an artist. This self-taught colonial painter settled in London during the golden age of English portraiture and not only made a name for himself, but became the king’s favorite.

He served as president of the Royal Academy of Arts – the titular head of the English art establishment – for 27 years during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a time when there were plenty of native-born artists worthy of the honor.

When he died in 1820 at the age of 81, West was the best-known artist in the English-speaking world. He has remained a fixture of American art history, even though he left the colonies in 1760 and, except for several years in Italy, lived the rest of his life in England.

Faoladh

Photographer Unknown, (Faoladh: Still Here But Now with iPhones)

“Laignech Fáelad, that is, he was the man that used to shift into fáelad, i.e. wolf-shapes. He and his offspring after him used to go, whenever they pleased, into the shapes of the wolves, and, after the custom of wolves, kill the herds. Wherefore he was called Laignech Fáelad, for he was the first of them to go into a wolf-shape.” – Coir Anmann, 215