Art Inspiration: The Greek Gods Distraction on Olympus: Athena


“Distraction on Olympus” is a project I worked on with my students at the school I work in.  It was the final project in a drawing club the children where in when I taught them how to draw in the style of comic and cartoon characters.  The class had decided to go with the theme of the Greek gods and I would help them draw a scene around that idea.

In the process of creating the scene, the children asked to be represented as the gods in the project.  They would choose who they wanted to be drawn as from the Greek gods.  There was one girl in the class that had the intelligence and grace that you would associate with the goddess Athena.  When I told her that I chose Athena for her she was excited because that is who she wanted to be drawn as.

Athena’s birth is one unlike any other in antiquity.  Her father Zeus had relations with her mother Metis (meaning “wisdom”) and she became pregnant.  Zeus, fearing that she would give birth to a son that would eventually over through him devoured or swallowed Metis. 

Soon after Zeus began to have a terrible headache. Since aspirin wasn’t invented then, he instead got Hephaestus to split his head open with an axe.  Talk about your spitting headaches.  Once the head was open, a full-grown, beautiful woman dressed in full armor and carrying a spear, came out and yelled out a fierce war cry at her birth. 

From her birth we can see her divine characteristics.  She was the goddess of wisdom but also the goddess of war.  However unlike Ares, Athena was the honorable side of war that had tactics, strategies and glory from war and combat.  She also had a strong relationship with her father.  Probably because she was born of him and not from the traditional woman born.  Also another aspect of her character is she remained a virgin.  

Her accomplishments and symbols were numerous but I will touch on a few. 

  1. Her animal symbols where the owl and snake.  Hmm. wise owl interesting.
  2. Her other symbols include her armor, helmet spear and aegis or shield that had the head of Medusa on it. 
  3. She was also seen with a small winged female with a crown of garland of success.  Her name was Nike meaning victory.  Hmm Nike – victory. Fascinating!
  4. One of her incredible tails include a contest with Poseidon for the control or patronage of Athens.  The contest had both deities give a gift to Athens and the people would decide.  Poseidon struck a rock with his trident and a salt-water spring or horse came out.  Athena touched the ground with her spear and an olive tree came out.  Upon seeing the tree they proclaimed Athena the winner.  In the Acropolis, across from the Parthenon, the marks of where the trident struck can be seen, as well near by the olive tree.   This began the bad blood relationship between the two deities.  This was also the catalyst for the tragic story of Medusa.

  I decided to draw Athena like the other female characters with an hourglass figure.  Yet you usually see Athena dressed in a long dress or robe, so I did the same.  I did not add the owl, it seemed too Harry Porterish, but I did draw her with her helmet, spear and aegis with the head of Medusa on it.

   I told the story of Athena to the class, abridged of course and they were very pleased with the results.  The girl particularly love her character. 


I hope you enjoy Athena, goddess of Wisdom and War, as much as the children did. 

Athena goddess of Wisdom and War.

Athena goddess of Wisdom and War.


2 Responses to Art Inspiration: The Greek Gods Distraction on Olympus: Athena

  1. Pingback: Art Inspiration: The Greek Gods Distraction on Olympus: Apollo | Paul Gauchi

  2. Pingback: Athena |

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