A Gift From The Gods; Pandora
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.
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.
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 Zeus ‘The King Of The Gods’ from A Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
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
- 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.
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.
Aphrodite (or Urania) was born when Cronus cut off Uranus’s genitals and cast into the sea. As the semen and blood mixed with the sea-foam it created a woman, who arose from the sea and is known as the beautiful and irresistible goddess, Aphrodite. Her name comes from the Greek word for foam (aphros) yet she was also described by other terms as well. Since her father was Uranus, god of the heavens, she was also known as Heavenly and Celestial, Urania.
As you may have gathered, Aphrodite is known as the goddess of beauty, love, marriage, pleasure and procreation. She was a very powerful goddess who was worshiped for many things from marriage to prostitution. She inspired many artists to create works of art, music and literature over the centuries, myself included.
Many deities also attend Aphrodite:
- The Three Graces – the Charites are females that represent the aspects of charm and loveliness.
- The Hours or Season – the daughters of Zeus and Themis: Horae meaning hours, then time and then seasons. There are four that represent the beautiful qualities of the different time of the year.
- Eros – in Greek Myth he is named Eros but many today know him by his other name Cupid. In Greek Myth he came out of Chaos and then attended Aphrodite when she was born. In the Roman or other texts he was the son of Aphrodite and Ares. He was a handsome god of love and desire, but in either case he was Aphrodite’s closest friend and confidant.
Aphrodite’s role in the creation of Pandora is written, ‘golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs.’ Hesiod, Works & Days 54. In other words she bestowed upon her the beauty, the mystery of sexual attractiveness and desire and the pain that goes with it. This way no man could resist her, mind or body if you know what I mean.
I drew Aphrodite as a sultry woman with wavy blonde hair. The Mediterranean region is known for more brunettes than blondes but I wanted to depict her as a blonde. Aphrodite is mainly depicted nude but I did not want to go there and I think if you leave something to the imagination you enhance the sexual appeal. Therefore I drew her with a blue dress (colour of the sea) but I made it partially see through or sheer. The dress also has three side openings to enhance the sexual allure. You will also notice that I added seashells as pins to keep the dress from falling apart, another connection to her creation.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Aphrodite ‘Goddess of Beauty and Love’ from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
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.
The Kharites (The Graces) : Algaea
In the Pandora story she is given different gifts to make her irresistible to men. One group of goddess known as the Kharites or Graces bestowed a gift to Pandora. The Kharites were three goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song. I will reveal these goddesses one at a time starting with Algaea.
Algaea was known as the goddess of beauty, splendour, glory, magnificence and adornment. She was also the wife of the god Hephaistos and the mother of the four younger Kharites named Good-Repute, Praise, Eloquence and Welcome. She was also named Kharis (the Grace) and Kale (Beauty). Her and her sisters were usually depicted in art as three nude women dancing, yet for this piece I wanted to portray them in seductive attire to give the illusion of nudity.
I drew Algaea and her sisters as seductive women with luscious curves and wearing sheer lingerie. There are parts you can see but I wanted to leave some things to the imagination. Usually many goddesses have dark hair but this character I want to have blonde hair. I coloured her outfit in a darker colour because here sisters will be wearing more liter colours.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Algaea one of the Kharties from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
The Kharites (The Graces) : Euphrosyne
In the Pandora story she is given different gifts to make her irresistible to men. One group of goddess known as the Kharites or Graces bestowed a gift to Pandora. The Kharites were three goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song. The next Kharites is named Euphrosyne.
Euphrosyne was known as the goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment. Her and her sisters were usually depicted in art as three nude women dancing, yet for this piece I wanted to portray them in seductive attire to give the illusion of nudity.
I drew Euphrosyne and her sisters as seductive women with luscious curves and wearing lingerie. I used red for the colour of her outfit that is a bit reveling in the breasts but still leave something to the imagination. With this character I wanted to use brown hair to depict the probable hair colouring of the region. I also had her hair cover one eye to show, what I call the Mysterious Look.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Euphrosyne one of the Kharties from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
The Kharites (The Graces): Thalia
In the Pandora story she is given different gifts to make her irresistible to men. One group of goddess known as the Kharites or Graces bestowed a gift to Pandora, they placed gold necklaces upon her. The Kharites were three goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song. The next Kharites is named Thalia.
Thalia was known as the goddess of festivity and rich, luxurious banquets. Her and her sisters were usually depicted in art as three nude women dancing, yet for this piece I wanted to portray them in seductive attire to give the illusion of nudity.
I drew Thalia similarly to her sisters, as seductive women with luscious curves and adorned in sensual lingerie. I wanted to use white for this character to have the purity of the colour enhance this character’s appeal. Granted the fact that the top is sheer helps, but I wanted the colour to enhance her figure and breasts. The hair is similar to Euphrosyne’s but I wanted more of a wavy look and having it caress her shoulder. I did not want to go for the mysterious look because I wanted the hair to frame her face more.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Thalia one of the Kharties from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
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.
- In the Pandora tale, Athena gave the gift of needlework and weaving.
- Her animal symbols where the owl and snake. Hmm. wise owl interesting.
- Her other symbols include her armor, helmet, spear and aegis or shield that had the head of Medusa on it.
- 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!
- One of her incredible tales includes 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 drew Athena as an athletic woman taking into account her skill as a warrior. Of course I added the Aegis and the spear, but I also wanted to show her as a woman. Her figure and dress helps to emphases this as well drawing her with long brown hair caressing her shoulders and breasts. Her face is very feminine even though in many traditional art of Athena she had very masculine traits.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Athena, goddess of Wisdom and War from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
Pandora was a gift to humanity as punishment because Prometheus gave the gift of fire to us. Hephaestus created Pandora under the orders from Zeus. She then was bestowed with gifts from the gods to make her desirable to men. She is presented to Epimetheus brother of Prometheus, 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, a gift from Zeus, 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.
I created Pandora with a full body and legs, to show the full female form of Pandora that Hephaestus creates. I created her in a sensual pose to highlight her figure. Her leg is turned in and her left arm up was my way of creating a ‘come hither look’ for her. I also created her hair rolling off the left side of her face and shoulder to enhance that effect. I did this to cover one eye to give her that “mysterious look” as I call it. Originally I created her with blonde hair but if she is from the Mediterranean region, then she would have dark hair, hence the brown. Her shoes were supposed to be sandals but I decided to give her high heels. High heels are used to emphasize certain physical features such as her hips, behind, breasts and shapely legs.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of Pandora, from The Gift From The Gods; Pandora.
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.
This piece is a culmination of the months of work and the assembly of the nine individual images to create this final piece. The only semi new part is the background where I drew the Parthenon temple as a representation of Mount Olympus in the sky.
All the different characters of the Pandora story are present for the final scene. I assembled all the characters and I also made sure that their eyes are all looking on their creation, Pandora. We can see then all from, right to left;
- Hephaestus, created Pandora from clay
- Athena, gave the gift of needlework and weaving
- Hermes (flying), gave the ability to lie and cheat without remorse, to have the nature of a thief
- The Kharties (The Graces) Algeae, Thalia, Euphrosne; they placed gold necklaces upon her and other gifts to make her irresistible to men
- Aphrodite, bestowed upon Pandora the beauty, the mystery of sexual attractiveness and desire and the pain that goes with it
- Zeus, if you look closely Zeus is holding his gift to Pandora. The Jar/Box/Urn with all the evils and plagues of humanity and of course Hope too.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of the final image of Pandora: A Gift From The Gods.