Jean Alaux

Jean Alaux, “Cadmus in Combat with the Dragon”,  1830, Engraving, 38.6 x 29.5 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France

Born in 1786 in the port city of Bordeaux, Jean Alaux was a French history painter, one of four brothers who all became painters. He received his first art lessons from his father. Alaux’s formal training was under history painter Pierre Lacour and Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, a Parisian painter known for his portraits and melodramatic mythological scenes. In 1807, Alaux was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Beginning in 1808, Jean Alaux began entering his work in the Prix de Rome; however, he took a hiatus from his own work to assist his older brother Jean-François Alaux on a large-scale panorama. Subsequently, Alaux entered his “Briseis Weeping Over the Body of Patroclus” in the 1815 Prix de Rome. This work, inspired by Homer’s “Illiad”, was awarded the major prize at the exhibition. Alaux was elected to the French Academy in Rome and, from 1816 to 1820, received an annual pension.

While at the Academy, Jean Alaux became a friend of Neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and associated with such artists as painters François-Édouard Picot and Michel Martin Drolling, and sculptors David d’Angers and Jean-Jacques Pradier. Alaux’s first oil painting at the Academy was “Cadmus Killing the Dragon at the Fountains of Dirce”, purchased by the Duke of Orleans and later destroyed in a a fire at the Royal Palace during the 1848 French Revolution. Alaux painted two other mythology-based scenes during his stay at the Academy: “Episode in Combat with the Centaurs and the Lapithes” and “Diamedes Carrying Off the Palladium”. 

Alaux returned to France in 1821 where his reputation grew as his new works were well received. In 1825 he painted the historical work  “The Baptism of Clovis”, which depicted the warlord King Clovis’s baptism by Saint Remigius, the Bishop of Rheims, surrounded by a crowd of spectators. This work was followed by “States General of 1838”, “The Assembly of the Notables at Rouen in 1596”, and “States General of 1814”. 

During the liberal constitutional reign of Louis Philippe I which began in July of 1830, Alaux worked at the Galerie des Batailles under the auspices of the Chàteau de Versailles. He painted three historical works for the gallery: the 1836 “Battle of Villaviciosa”, “The Capture of Valenciennes” in 1837, and the 1839 “The Battle of Denain”. 

In 1846, Jean Alaux was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome. During his directorship, he and his students were forced to temporarily flee to France during the siege of Rome in 1849 when Garibaldi’s defending forces fought the invading French army. Alaux continued his directorship at the Academy until his retirement in 1852. Jean Alaux died twelve years later in Paris on the second of March in 1864. 

Jean Alaux’s work can be found in many private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of New York which holds his 1817 “Léon Pallière in His Room at the Villa Medici, Rome”, the British Museum in London which houses a collection of Alaux’s etchings, and the Harvard Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, “Portrait of Jean Alaux”, Date Unknown, Engraving

Middle Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “Narcisse”, 1818, Oil on Canvas, 95.3 x 76 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “A Man with Gun Seen from Behind”, Date Unknown, Black and White Chalk on Brown Paper, 57.7 x 39.1 cm, Private Collection

André Durand

Paintings by André Durand

Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1947, André Durand is a Canadian photographer and painter of Irish ancestry who works within the European Hermetic tradition. At the age of seventeen, he left Canada with his wife Ludmilla to emigrate to Europe. Through its history, Hermeticism was closely associated with the idea of a primeval, divine wisdom that was revealed to ancient sages. Hermeticism remains influential within esoteric Christianity, particularly in the  Christian mystical tradition of Maartinism. The anonymously written 1967 French tome “Meditations on the Tarot”, later edited and published by Robert Powell in 1980, summarizes the theory and practices of Christian Hermeticism.

Best known for his allegorical portraits of such figures as Princess Diane, Durand’s mythologically inspired paintings are the foundation of his work. These pieces display his deep understanding of the rituals and myths of both Christian and Classical traditions. Influenced by Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian, Durand tries to unite his religion with his art; however, he approaches the subject with the objective and philosophical criteria of a Neo-modernist. 

In 1970 André Durand painted a series of images inspired by the dancers of the British Royal Ballet. His 1972 portrait of Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, whose work often bears heavily on the psychology of its characters, is housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Durand  has also received international acclaim for his official portraits of Pope John Paul II and the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

In 2000, Durand became artist in residence at London’s Kingston Upon Thames University. A major exhibition in 2006, entitled “Durand Wholly Pictures” and which covered six years of work, was displayed in churches and cathedrals in the county of Sussex. These works depicted devotional Christian narratives set in traditional  Sussex landscapes. In November of 2007, André Durand produced his oil on linen “Daniel in the Lions’ Den”; the sale of the painting and its limited edition prints benefited the Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a charity in Kent that provides support to life-limited children and their families.

After his return to Italy, André Durand visited the commune of Torre del Greco in Naples and the coastal town of Sperlonga, known for its sculptures and Roman sea grotto at the Villa of Tiberius. At the invitation of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Sperlonga, he opened a studio at the museum as artist in residence for two years. From 2010 to 2012, Durand began a series of round formal paintings on the subject of the Stations of the Resurrection, many of which contain the Grotto of Tiberius in the background.

Durand published several art photography volumes of his work in 2012. Most notable among them is the “Fotograf ando Statue per Anno”, an image collection of the statuary in Sperlonga’s National Archeological Museum. Containing text co-written by the museum’s director Marisa de’Spagnolls, this volume of sculptural work is the only comprehensive photographic archive of the museum’s collection. 

André Durand’s work has been featured in many solo exhibitions in Italy and England. These include, among others, “Frammenti Classici” in 1995 at London’s Archeus Fine Art; the 2000 “Soggetti Italianizzati” at the Galleria Albemarle in London; and “Via Lucis e Lagrime di San Pietro” at Galleria Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Durand’s work is in many private collections and the permanent collections of the Scottish National Gallery and London’s National Portrait Gallery. He currently lives and works in Sperlonga, Italy.

Images of André Durand’s work, a manifesto on Neo-modernism, enquiries for commissions, and contact information can be found at the artist’s site: http://andredurandportraits.com

Second Insert Image: André Durand, “Saint Christopher Cynocephalus”, 2010, “Sacred” Series, Oil on Linen, 167.5 x 112 cm

Third Insert Image: André Durand, “Narcissus”, 2001, “Mythology” Series, Oil on Linen, 61 x 48 cm, Private Collection, Rome

Bottom Insert Image: André Durand, “Giordano Bruno Burning”, 2000, “Profane” Series, Oil on Linen, 203.2 x 167.6 cm

Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol

Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujal, “Ixion Chained in Tartarus”, 1824, Oil on Canvas, 127 x 157 cm, Louvre Museum, Paris

Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol, “Sisyphus Eternally Rolling the Rock”, 1819, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 212 cm, Musée Henri Martin, Cahors, France

Born in January of 1785 in Valenciennes, a northern French city bordering Belgium, Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol was a French painter. He was the illegitimate son and only child of nobleman Alexander-Denis-Joseph Mortry de Pujol, Baron de la Grave, who served as advisor to King Louis XVI Auguste and was the founder of the Académie de Peinture et Sculpture in Valenciennes. From the age of twelve, Abel de Pujol studied at the Academy and completed his training as a student of Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, regarded in his time as the preeminent painter in France. 

Receiving little support from his father for his studies, Abel de Pujol earned a pension from the city of Valenciennes which allowed him to continue his studies at David’s studio. He also took classes in perspective, anatomy, and architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1806 at  the age of twenty-one, de Pujol won a first-class medal at the Académie and a second-class medal at the Salon of 1810 for his painting “Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph”; this painting placed second at the Prix de Rome competition in 1810. 

In 1811, Abel du Pujol won the Prix de Rome with his painting “Lycurgus Presenting the Heir to the Throne to the Lacedaemonians”. Having achieved this award, he was formally recognized by his father and was able to add the name Pujol to his own. Abel de Pujol suffered a period of poor health and depression during his stay in Italy, which allowed him only eight months of study in 1812. Restored to health, he returned to his career in Paris and successfully exhibited mainly history paintings at the Salons.

In 1814, Abel de Pujol won gold medals from both Louis XVIII and Napoleon Bonaparte for his monumental painting “The Death of Britannicus”. A compositional study for the 3.54 x 5.50 meters painting is currently housed in the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. His grisaille (gray-monochrome) painting “The Preaching and Martyrdom of Saint Stephen”, intended for the church of Saint Etienne du Mont, was entered at the 1817 Paris Salon where it won the prize for history painting. These awards established his reputation as a history painter and muralist.

Abel de Pujol received several important official commissions, He executed three paintings and a ceiling mural for the royal palace at Versailles, as well as a large, allegorical ceiling mural, entitled “The Renaissance of the Arts”, for the Louvre’s grand staircase, later destroyed in 1855 during the joining of the Palais du Louvre to the Palais des Tuileries. Abel de Pujol also painted many mural decorations for public buildings, such as the Galerie de Diane at Fontainbeau and the Palais de Luxembourg. For the ceiling of the Bourse, Paris’s stock exchange, he executed a series of large-scale grisaille tromp-l’oeil decorations of architectural features and draped nudes.

Throughout his career, de Pujol produced altar pieces and designs for stained-glass windows for Parisian churches such as Saint-Roch, Saint Sulpice and Saint Thomas d’Acquin and the Madeleine. He also did work for the cathedral at Arras and the church of Saint-Pierre in Douai. Included among Abel de Pojul’s last major works are the 1846 “Valenciennes Encouraging the Arts”, a monumental canvas for the town hall of Valenciennes, and an 1852 mural for the ceiling of the staircase of the School of Mining at the Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris.

A successful teacher and draftsman, Abel de Pujol was a member of the Institut de France, a learned society composed of all the sciences and fine arts, and an Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor. Among his students were sculptor Alphonse Lami, painter Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, and Julien Hudson, an American painter and free man of color, thought to be the first African American by whom a self portrait is known. Abel de Pujol died in Paris, at the age of seventy-six, in September of 1861. 

Top Insert Image: Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol, “Self Portrait”, 1806, Oil on Canvas, 71 x 55 cm, Musée de Beaux-Arts, Paris

Middle Insert Image: Abel de Pujol, “La Colère d’Achille (The Fury of Achilles)”, 1810, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 146 cm, Snite Museum of Art, Campus of Notre Dame, Indiana

Bottom Insert Image: Alexandre_Abel_de_Pujol, “Self Portrait”, 1812, Oil on Canvas, 56.2 x 46 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Denis Forkas

The Paintings of Denis Forkas

Born in 1977 in Kamyshin, a town on the Volga river, Denis Forkas Kostromitin is a Russian painter whose work explores religious and mythological symbolism in the tradition of ancient Mediterranean art. The son of a military officer, his childhood years were spent in various remote regions of the Soviet states. Forkas’s early nomadic existence with its isolation and lack of comforts led to self-education in artistic training and numerous sensory deprivation experiences, which later had a major impact on his artwork.

With little stimulus from the austere Soviet environment, Forkas eagerly consumed literature on the esoteric worlds of Egyptian and Greek mysticism and mythology. After the iron curtain’s collapse in 1991, new translations of literary works, including the esoteric writings of English occultist Aleister Crowley and French author Eliphas Levi, entered the Soviet states. Forkas studied these new volumes and the literature written by Western philosophers, which became available in the mid-1990s.

After the economic boom in the new century, Denis Forkas frequently visited China as a journalist, interpreter, and commercial representative. After meeting several painting masters in China, he was able to receive formal training for three years in traditional Eastern painting techniques, including those of the Xieyl and Gongbi art forms. 

Xieyl is a genre of Chinese traditional painting worked on xuan paper that uses either ink or layers of watercolor. This genre includes works of calligraphy, poem, painting and seal, of which freehand painting is the most influential and popular. Gongbi is a careful, realistic technique of Chinese painting, often highly-colored, that is worked  on xuan paper. This method uses highly-detailed brushstrokes that delineate details very precisely without interpretation or free expression on the part of the artist.

After leaving China, Forkas settled in Moscow to concentrate on his career path as a professional artist. His early work was inspired by German Expressionism and the late nineteenth-century Symbolist movement, which emphasized the reality of the created paint surface itself. These paintings by Forkas were influenced by the early abstract, experimental works of Wassily Kandinsky that, in an immediate way, were an expression of Kandinsky’s inner feelings.

Denis Forkas’s new work, still in the artistic traditions of ancient Near East civilizations, draw their inspiration from early Renaissance and  seventeenth-century Dutch paintings. Drifting away from the earlier predominant symbolist style, Forkas’s paintings became influenced by the works of Belgian painter Fernand Khnopff, who carried symbolism’s recurring themes into his portraits, and Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel, whose paintings in the latter portion of his life displayed a glowing, otherworldly mosaic effect that fit within the Byzantine tradition.

Since 2007, Forkas has privately taught the techniques of painting and drawing to students and has participated in various local and international exhibitions, including the October 2014 Image Show in London. Forkas has produced many drawings and paintings that have been featured as album covers for international music releases. Currently living and working in Moscow, he has contributed both work and an interview for the esoteric publisher Fulgur Press.

Contact information and a small gallery of work by Forkas can be found at his website located at: www.denisforkas.com

For those interested, a list of album cover art by Denis Forkas can be found at the Encyclopaedia Mettalum site located at: https://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Denis_Forkas_Kostromitin/436114

Second Insert Image: Denis Forkas, “The Hanged Man / Gift of Prometheus”, 2017, Acrylics and Gilding on Paper, 41.5 x 29.5 cm

Third Insert Image: Denis Forkas, “Saglokratlok II”, 2017, Ink and Gouache on Paper, 24.1 x 18.5 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Denis Forkas, “Between Two Worlds (Study for a Recurring Dream of Ichor Baptism Fashioned as a Portico Fresco Cartoon)”, 2016, Acrylics on Paper on Hardboard, 23.7 x 22.5 cm

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.