Friday Two Cents: Ancient Greece Inspired


I recently went to see the newest super hero movie Wonder Woman. Apart from the fact that I loved the movie and character, I love the fact that the comic book character was inspired by the myths of ancient Greece. After watching the movie I felt inspired to research some aspects of the character and then draw the Amazonian Princess.

Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by a psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston. He was a great believer of the educational value of comics and wanted to create a superhero character that would use compassion over violence. The original artist was Harry George Peter. Together they created a character that has been a great inspiration to millions of girls and women.

I for one love the character and when you add the ancient Greek mythology to the mix, I am hooked. Many aspects of the character come from Greek mythology.   She is an Amazon Princess, mentioned in such tales as Homer’s Iliad. The comic book story lines mention the Greek gods and their background story of how they  created the Amazons. As well her own creation story involved the Greek gods, not to mention the fact that her primary advisory is Ares, the god of war.

You add all these together and it is no wonder I am drawn to Wonder Woman. I hope you enjoy my Ancient Greek inspired drawing of Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

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Art Inspiration:The Gift From The Gods; Pandora: Box/Jar/Urn


Pandora title

In my life I have had moments that inspire me to create and wonder about different possibilities. Working with children has always been a catalyst for these moments. On a number of occasions I have provided a drawing or art class for the children and their curiosity has inspired many ideas and creations. Some of these inspirations have produced scenes of me drawing them camping, or as characters from Harry Potter, but the majority of them enjoyed me creating a scene based on the Greek gods. I have posted this work so titled The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.
This experience was so enjoyable that I have been thinking of creating another scene from Greek Mythology for some time. In the next few weeks I will be posting the different characters of this scene and a little background info on each one.

I must emphasize that this drawing is not for the children in my school but an independent work I undertook for my own enjoyment. It is from my imagination and may be a bit adult.

 

Jar/Box/ Urn

 

What would the story of Pandora be without the box? The interesting thing is that the original story of Pandora did not have a box but a storage jar or pithos. In the jar held all the evils or evil spirits of the world as well as one other thing. The jar was given to Pandora and her husband Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus.

Where Prometheus’s name meant ‘forethought’ Epimetheus meant ‘afterthought’. Prometheus warns his bother not to accept the gift of Pandora because he can fore-see trouble, but Epimetheus does not heed his bother’s warning.  She carries with her a jar, a gift to them from Zeus, yet she is told not to open it. Of course when someone is told not to do something they inevitably do that thing. She opens the lid and releases the evils and plagues onto the earth, but holds back hope that is still in the control of humans.

I drew the jar as a Greek urn with two handles. On it I drew the usual patterns around the urn but I added an eagle to the top centre of the neck of the urn to represent Zeus. Zeus is commonly portrayed as an eagle and so I wanted to show his influence. On the centre I redrew Pandora in her similar stance as I drew her but with her eyes closed. If you did not notice the eagle, I made sure you noticed the Zeus influence with the twin lightning bolts flanking the image of Pandora. In the final rendering this urn/jar will be place in it in a prominent place, but you will have to wait and see where it is.

In the mean time I hope you enjoy my depiction of Pandora’s Box/Jar/Urn, from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora. 

Pandora's Box/Jar/Urn

Pandora’s Box/Jar/Urn

Art Inspiration: A Gift From The Gods; Pandora: A New Zeus


Pandora title

  In my life I have had moments that inspire me to create and wonder about different possibilities. Working with children has always been a catalyst for these moments. On a number of occasions I have provided a drawing or art class for the children and their curiosity has inspired many ideas and creations. Some of these inspirations have produced scenes of me drawing them camping, or as characters from Harry Potter, but the majority of them enjoyed me creating a scene based on the Greek gods. I have posted this work so titled “The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.

  This experience was so enjoyable that I have been thinking of creating another scene from Greek Mythology for some time.  In the next few weeks I will be posting the different characters of this scene and a little background info on each one. I must emphasize that this drawing is not for the children in my school but an independent work I undertook for my own enjoyment. It is from my imagination and may be a bit adult.

A New Zeus

  If you have been following my postings of The Gift From The Gods; Pandora you will have undoubtedly noticed that I have already created the character of Zeus. However, when I started creating the other characters I then decided to make this creation more realistic and less cartoonish. My original Zeus was very cartoonish and I did not like how Zeus was depicted. Therefore I redrew him in a different pose and made him more realistic.

  Yet before I go into what my new direction is I for Zeus, let me tell you a bit about his role in the Pandora story. It all begins with Prometheus (my personal favorite mythological character) tricking Zeus. You see Prometheus is seen as the champion of humans and this places him in direct conflict with Zeus. It started around the entire way you make a sacrifice to the gods. In his pursuit to assist humans, he prepares a sacrifice of an ox, to Zeus. He makes two sacks for the sacrifice. The smaller has the rich meat parts and in the larger, the bones and discarded parts of the ox.

  Prometheus wants to trick Zeus into choosing the bones, therefore he offers him the small sack with the larger sack in view. Zeus tells Prometheus that he has divided the sacrifice unfairly. He then offers Zeus a choice of which sack he so desires. Zeus chooses the larger sack with the bones and once he finds out the true of Prometheus’ deception, he is enraged. Zeus them takes fire away from the humans, thereby declaring the humans to “eat their meat raw”. Prometheus resorts to thievery and steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans. Upon discovering the truth of the theft, Zeus is set to punish Prometheus and the humans.

  Prometheus’ punishment, for the theft of fire, is excruciating and without end. Zeus has Hephaestus chain Prometheus to a rock with the help of Force and Power/Strength. There, an eagle would visit him everyday and feed on his liver. However, because Prometheus is an immortal, his liver would grow back or regenerate and therefore the suffering would continue with the return of the eagle the following day. Eternal punishment for stealing fire from the gods and teaching humans how to use it.

  For the humans, Zeus decides to make a woman named Pandora. I will go into more detail at a later date.

  I created the new Zeus not as an elderly grandfather type, but a younger looking man. The first thing I wanted was to really put the emphasis on his physique. Zeus is the king of the gods therefore I wanted to show him in prime physical form. To show his large upper body, muscular, six-pack, etc, I went with a simple loincloth with a shoulder strap and a side pouch for his lightning bolts. He is Zeus after all and the lightening bolt is a symbol of his. I still wanted to show him as a mature man so I added the white hair but more wavy rather than curly as with my original drawing. Mostly all mature men in ancient Greece wore beards as a sign of maturity and stature (also they did not have sharp razors until iron works).   However I wanted my Zeus to have the ability to show that he was different from other gods and men, so I added the goatee. It makes him look mature but it also makes him look like a rock star. His hand is stretched out because in the final piece he will be holding something. You will find out in the final rendering.

  Until then I hope you enjoy my New Zeus ‘The King Of The Gods’ from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.  

 

Zeus - God of the Sky. The Supreme Olympian God.

Zeus – God of the Sky. The Supreme Olympian God.

Art Inspiration: A Gift From The Gods; Pandora: Hermes


Pandora title

 

  In my life I have had moments that inspire me to create and wonder about different possibilities. Working with children has always been a catalyst for these moments. On a number of occasions I have provided a drawing or art class for the children and their curiosity has inspired many ideas and creations. Some of these inspirations have produced scenes of me drawing them camping, or as characters from Harry Potter, but the majority of them enjoyed me creating a scene based on the Greek gods. I have posted this work so titled The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.

  This experience was so enjoyable that I have been thinking of creating another scene from Greek Mythology for some time. In the next few weeks I will be posting the different characters of this scene and a little background info on each one. I must emphasize that this drawing is not for the children in my school but an independent work I undertook for my own enjoyment. It is from my imagination and may be a bit adult.

Hermes

  Hermes is the son of Zeus and a beautiful nymph Maia. An extremely gifted baby it was said that he was born at dawn created and played the lyre by midday and stole the cattle of Apollo by the evening. The main and important attributes of Hermes are that he was the quintessential trickster and a master of persuasion. He had many duties but the two main where the divine messenger of the gods and the god that guides the souls to the underworld.

  Here is a list of the many qualities of Hermes.

  • Divine Messenger of the gods
  • Guides the souls to the underworld
  • Guider of dreams
  • A robber, a spy in the night and a prince of thieves
  • Slayer of Argus, the hundred-eyed giant
  • Devious, ingenuity and a clever talker
  • Lord of flocks and Mt. Cyllene and Arcadia

   Hermes accessories included …

  • The Petasus, a broad-brimmed hat with wings
  • Sandals with wings
  • The Caduceus, a herald’s staff that was entwined with two snakes.

   With the Pandora story Hermes is said to have “to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.” (Hesiod, Works & Days 54 ff ) on the orders of Zeus. In other words the ability to lie and cheat without remorse, to have the nature of a thief. In layman’s terms, a bitch. He was then instructed to take Pandora to Epimetheus (brother of Prometheus) as a gift from Zeus.

  I drew Hermes hovering with all three of his accessories. I really wanted to show a muscular Hermes and so I just drew him wearing shorts and not a robe. Also Hermes is usually depicted without facial hair and I did the same. I wanted to show a youthful and strong Hermes in comparison to my early work with The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.

  I hope you enjoy my depiction of Hermes ‘Divine messenger of the gods’ from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora. 

Hermes -  Divine messenger of the gods.

Hermes – Divine messenger of the gods.

Art Inspiration: A Gift From The Gods; Pandora: Hephaestus


Pandora title

In my life I have had moments that inspire me to create and wonder about different possibilities. Working with children has always been a catalyst for these moments. On a number of occasions I have provided a drawing or art class for the children and their curiosity has inspired many ideas and creations. Some of these inspirations have produced scenes of me drawing them camping, or as characters from Harry Potter, but the majority of them enjoyed me creating a scene based on the Greek gods. I have posted this work so titled The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.
This experience was so enjoyable that I have been thinking of creating another scene from Greek Mythology for some time. In the next few weeks I will be posting the different characters of this scene and a little background info on each one. I must emphasize that this drawing is not for the children in my school but an independent work I undertook for my own enjoyment. It is from my imagination and may be a bit adult.

 

Hephaestus

Hephaestus was a lame god and the son of Hera and Zeus. His mother, ashamed by his disfigurement, cast him out of Olympus. On another occasion his father hurled him down from Olympus because he interfered in a fight between Zeus and Hera. Yet he always returned, I would imagine because of his skill with the forge.

He was married to the gorgeous Aphrodite, some would say this was an insult to him because of his disfigurement or others would say it is a mating of intellect and craftsmanship with sensuous beauty, the nerd and the sexy bombshell.  In either case, it was a challenge for him to keep his wife from playing the field, if you know what I mean. She would always “entertain” different gods and mortals but mostly would pair up with Ares who she had several children with. This enraged and embarrassed Hephaestus who built ways of capturing the two in the act. On one occasion he created unbreakable chains that was as fine a spider silk and he caught the two and displayed them for his amusement.

Hephaestus was the great artisan and blacksmith of the gods, a working Joe like many of us. He has the 3 Cyclopes helping him in his workshop. He makes the most amazing creations, a true artisan whose talents have created wonderful masterpieces including the following …

  • The Shield of Achilles
  • The Silver Bow and Arrows of Artemis and Apollo
  • A chain net of unbreakable chains as fine a spider silk
  • The chains that bound Prometheus
  • The Spear of Athena
  • The Breastplate of Hercules
  • The Specter of Zeus
  • The battle armor of the gods
  • Jewelry
  • The first robots that helped him get around.

 

His talents were not only in the craft of metal work. In the story of Pandora, Zeus ordered him to create a beautiful woman out of earth and water. Once done, Zeus ordered the gods to bestow on her many gifts and talents to make her irresistible to men.

I drew Hephaestus as a very muscular man. Anyone working construction or in any form of physical labour would build up a large upper body. Yet in many instances he is depicted as having a hunch or deformity with a dirty look about him who is unworthy of an Olympian god, but I did not want to show this. He is lame and by definition means the inability to walk normally because of an injury to the foot. I wanted to show him as a strong well-proportioned man. I did give him scruffy, messy hair but I think it does not take away from the fact that this god is one of the lest liked of the Olympian gods but most talented.  

I hope you enjoy Hephaestus from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.  

Hephaetus -  The Artisan and Blacksmith to the gods.

Hephaestus – The Artisan and Blacksmith to the gods.

Art Inspiration: A Gift From The Gods; Pandora: Zeus


Pandora title

In my life I have had moments that inspire me to create and wonder about different possibilities. Working with children has always been a catalyst for these moments. On a number of occasions I have provided a drawing or art class for the children and their curiosity has inspired many ideas and creations. Some of these inspirations have produced scenes of me drawing them camping, or as characters from Harry Potter, but the majority of them enjoyed me creating a scene based on the Greek gods. I have posted this work so titled The Greek Gods, Distraction on Olympus”.

This experience was so enjoyable that I have been thinking of creating another scene from Greek Mythology for some time. But with my time limited I have put this on the back burner, yet the idea and desire is ever-present.

Henry Moore Pandora and the imprisoned statues from Prometheus

Recently I have been discussing Greek Mythology, going to art exhibits and other activities with a friend. With our time together she has inspired an idea in me for a new scene from Greek Mythology. Our talks and shared experiences have stirred my imagination into action. It all came out of an art exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) we attended on the works of Henry Moore and Francis Bacon. In the exhibit I saw a sketch by Moore called Pandora. It caught my eye because if you have every seen Moore’s works, it about the human form but the heads are small and the focus is on the body itself. Yet in this drawing he drew Pandora with a full head and face to proper proportion. This was Moore’s idea or take on the legend of Prometheus and Pandora, my favourite Greek Myth story. It made me wonder what would my take or depiction of this story be if I drew it. With that thought in mind I began the journey to create my depiction of the creation of Pandora.

In the next few weeks I will be posting the different characters of this scene and a little background info on each one. I must emphasize that this drawing is not for the children in my school but an independent work I undertook for my own enjoyment. It is from my imagination and may be a bit adult.

 Zeus

  The supreme god and the one with the final say in anything. He is the third son and sixth child of the Titans Cronus, his father and Rhea his mother. His father was afraid of his children rising up and defeating or over-throwing him as he did with his father Uranus, so he swallowed them whole. His mother hid him at birth and instead gave Cronus a stone wrapped in a blanket to ingest.

  Once Zeus got older he tricked Cronus into regurgitating his bothers and sisters namely Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. He them teamed up with them, the Titans Themis and her son Prometheus and the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes in a great battle against Cronus and the rest of the Titans called the Titanomachy. Cronus and his allies were defeated and sent into Tartarus.  

  Zeus, being the youngest brother, was not to inherit the top job as supreme ruler of the gods though his older brother Hades was to have. But instead of fighting over the issue, the three brothers decided to draw lots to decide. Zeus drew the longest straw and became the god of the skies and supreme ruler of the gods; Poseidon drew the second longest and became the god of the seas and Hades drawing the shortest became ruler of the Underworld.

  I could go on and describe Zeus’ many adventures and sexual conquests, but I do not have the time to list them all. Suffice it to say that Zeus had many lovers, including human females and a possible male (Ganymede). His role with humans is a one of love/hate. He loves the women but he never truly loved humans. Many think that Zeus created humans where in fact he did not. Prometheus created humans and he has been their champion since.

  Zeus is described as a man with a beard and a look of a king or nobility. He has a scepter and a bolt of lightning and thunder and is known to carry an AEGIS (shield) similar to his daughter’s, Athena. He is married to his sister Hera who is the mother goddess. Zeus’ character is very complicated to say the least.   On one hand he is seen as this harsh womanizer that has numerous affairs and countless illegitimate children with goddess and mortals and is scolded and nagged by a pretentious wife. Then on the other hand he is an almighty god with morals. A just and loving god, who rewards the just and punishes the wicked.

  I created Zeus as an elderly, yet young-looking man.   He has a beard and long wavy hair that is white representative of his age and the regal-ness of his statue. To add to his formidableness I made him strong with a larger upper body similar to a body builder and large biceps. Then of course I added the signature-lightening bolt to his tunic.

  I will describe Zeus’ role in the story of Pandora in the final rendering, but for now I hope you enjoy ZeusThe King Of The Gods’ from A Gift From The Gods; Pandora.  

Zeus - God of the Sky. The Supreme Olympian God.

Zeus – God of the Sky. The Supreme Olympian God.

Art Inspiration: The Greek Gods Distraction on Olympus: Prometheus


DistrationOnOlympus

“Distraction on Olympus” is a project I worked on with my students at the school I work in.  It was the final project for the drawing club where I taught the children 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 whom they wanted to be drawn as from the Greek gods.  Since this was to be a full class effort, I decided to draw myself in the scene too.  I thought, whom could I be portrayed as. The first name to come to me was ‘Prometheus’.
The story of Prometheus is my favourite mythical story.  He is the creator of humans and our champion.  He brought us fire and began teaching us how to use the fire and provided the building blocks of our civilization, in short, the very first teacher.  Being a teacher myself you can probably see the appeal.  The class wanted to know about Prometheus so I told them as I draw the character.
Prometheus was not an Olympian God but a Titan.  He is one of four sons of the Titans Iapetus, his father and Themis his mother.  His brothers were Atlas, Menoetius and his twin Epimetheus.
During the Titanomachy, the war against the titans, Prometheus and his mother Themis sided with Zeus and the Olympians gods.  Prometheus’ name means “forethought”, therefore seeing that there was a new force rising, took the side of the Olympians.  After the war Prometheus was allowed to stay with the Olympians and this would have great impact.
For you see, man was not created by Zeus; he was created out of clay and molded by Prometheus.  It was the task of Epimetheus and Prometheus to give traits that would give the animals on earth an advantage.   Epimetheus gave out all the traits but when it came to man there was nothing left because Epimetheus name means “afterthought”.  So Prometheus gave man the traits of knowledge from Athena and the craftsmanship from Hephaestus.
Prometheus is seen as the champion of humans, which then put him at peril.  He is placed in direct conflict with the gods, particularly Zeus, when it comes to making a sacrifice to the gods.  In his pursuit to assist humans, he prepares a sacrifice of an ox, to Zeus.  He makes two sacks for the sacrifice.  The smaller has the rich meat parts and in the larger, the bones and discarded parts of the ox.
Prometheus wants to trick Zeus into choosing the bones, therefore he offers him the small sack and Zeus says that Prometheus has divided the sacrifice unfairly.  He then offers Zeus a choice of which sack he so desires.  Zeus chooses the larger sack with the bones and is enraged by Prometheus’ deception.  Zeus them takes fire away from humans, thereby having the humans eat their meat raw.  Prometheus resorts to thievery and steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans.  Upon discovering the truth of the theft, Zeus is set to punish the humans and Prometheus.
For the humans, Zeus makes a woman named Pandora, who is bestowed with gifts from the gods to make her desirable to men.  She is then presented to Epimetheus, as a gift.  However, Prometheus warns his bother not to accept the gift, but he does not heed his bother’s warning.   She carries with her a jar, which contains all the evils and plagues of the world, yet she is told not to open it.  Of course when someone is told not to do something they inevitably do that thing.  She opens the lid and releases the evils and plagues onto the earth, but holds back hope that is still in the control of humans.
Prometheus’ punishment, for the theft of fire, is more excruciating and without end.  Zeus has Hephaestus chain Prometheus to a rock with the help of Force and Power/Strength.  There, an eagle everyday would visit him and feed on his liver.  However, because Prometheus is an immortal, his liver would grow back or regenerate and therefore the suffering would continue with the return of the eagle the next day.  Eternal punishment for stealing fire from the gods and teaching humans how to use it.
But there are indications in other literature in antiquity that Prometheus is freed from his bonds.   Prometheus has a powerful weapon against Zeus, knowledge.  He knows a secret that will bring the downfall of Zeus.  Prometheus won’t tell Zeus and not until Zeus’ son Hercules comes and kills the eagle and breaks the bonds does Prometheus tell the secret.
The secret is that if Zeus mates with Thetis a sea-nymph, he will produce a son greater than the father.  So with this information Thetis is married off to Peleus and they do have a son that is greater than the father, Achilles.
This is basically the story of Prometheus.  Many also see him as the first teacher of humanity.  Placing humans on the path of discovery in science, art, literature and ultimately our entire civilization.
I drew Prometheus bigger than the Olympian gods because his is a Titan.  I gave him the same basic clothing and looks except I gave him a Van Dyke.  Prometheus was modeled after me, I am taller than the children and I have a Van Dyke.  I did add the fennel stalk that had the fire in his hands and he is trying to conceal it from the rest of the gods.  If you look closely he is wearing a necklace with the symbols of man and woman, a tribute to his creation of humans.
Whenever I do mythology with the children, I usually recite the basic story I wrote.  The children in the class loved the story and the depiction of Prometheus.
Please enjoy Prometheus the Titian God. The creator of humans, stealer of fire, champion of humans and the first teacher.
Prometheus the Titian God. The creator of humans, stealer of fire, champion of humans and the first teacher.

Prometheus the Titian God. The creator of humans, stealer of fire, champion of humans and the first teacher.

A painting of Prometheus chained to a rock for...

A painting of Prometheus chained to a rock for haven stolen fire from the gods and delivering it to humankind. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prométhée enchaîné (Prometheus Bound) by Nicol...

Prométhée enchaîné (Prometheus Bound) by Nicolas-Sébastien Adam, (1762). Prometheus chained to a rock having his liver torn out by an eagle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan by Dirck va...

Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan by Dirck van Baburen (1623) Oil on canvas, 202 x 184 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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