07/02/12

Aci and Galatea | Ovid's Metamorphoses | Mythology

Metamorphoses, from the greek transformations, is a latin narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid, describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework.
Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature.
The most-read of all classical works during the Middle Ages, the Metamorphoses continues to exert a profound influence on Western culture. It also remains the favourite work of reference for greek myth upon which Ovid based these tales, albeit often with stylistic adaptations.

Statue of Acis and Galatea in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris



In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Acis was the spirit of the Acis River in Sicily, beloved of the nereid, or sea-nymph, Galatea "she who is milk-white". Galatea returned the love of Acis, but a jealous suitor, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder. Distraught, Galatea then turned his blood into the river Acis. The Acis River flowed past Akion Acium near Mount Etna in Sicily.
According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Acis was the son of Faunus and the river-nymph Symaethis, daughter of the River Symaethus.
The tale occurs nowhere earlier than in Ovid; it may be a fiction invented by Ovid "suggested by the manner in which the little river springs forth from under a rock". According to Athenaeus, ca 200 CE the story was first concocted as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with a nereid mentioned by Homer. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna.
A first-century fresco removed from an Imperial villa at Boscotrecase, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius, and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows the three figures as incidents in a landscape.
The tale of Acis and Galatea was familiar from the Renaissance onwards: there are paintings of the subject, sometimes as mythological incidents in a large landscape, by Adam Elsheimer. Nicolas Poussin National Gallery of Ireland and Claude Lorrain Dresden.
In music, the story was the basis for Lully's Acis et Galatée. Handel created both Acis and Galatea and Aci, Galatea e Polifemo on the story and Antonio de Literes wrote the zarzuela Acis y Galatea. Nicola Porpora's opera Polifemo and Jean Cras's opera Polyphème are also based on the story.
Claude Lorrain's painting of Acis and Galatea inspired Fyodor Dostoevsky's description of the 'Golden Age'; explicitly in 'A Raw Youth' and in Stavrogin's dream in 'The Devils', and implicitly in "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man".
Acis And Galatea - AntoineJean Gros, 1833
Acis and Galatea - Claude Lorrain
Acis playing the flute sculpture - Jean-Baptiste Tuby, 1674
Statue of Acis and Galatea in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Statue of Acis and Galatea in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Galatea sculpture - Jean-Baptiste Tuby 1667-75
Marble statue in the garden publics of Acireale, Sicily

Richard Currier 1960 | Hyperrealist american painter

Educated at the Ringling College of Art and Design, with further studies in Europe, Richard has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Richard has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and is represented in several museums, as well as prestigious collections.
Currier has exhibited widely throughout the Southern United States for 20 years. He received his artistic training at the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida, as well as independent studies in Amsterdam and Paris. His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, the Daytona Museum of Art and Science, and the Deland Museum of Art in Florida. Florida based painter Richard Currier depicts each subject in a magnified, almost hyper-realistic manner, whether it is a face, hand, flower or piece of fruit. "I have always been drawn towards dramatic imagery, using contrasting elements of color, shape and space. I paint until the objects become more than what they are", states Currier. Indeed, the import and beauty of Currier's paintings lies less in the subject matter, and more in his masterful painterly techniques.




















Aristide Maillol 1861-1944 | French sculptor and painter | Les Nabis

Maillol began his career as a painter and tapestry designer, but after c. 1900 devoted himself to three-dimensional work, becoming one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century.
He concentrated almost exclusively on the nude female figure in the round, consciously wishing to strip form of all literary associations and architectural context.
Although inspired by the Classical tradition of Greek and Roman sculpture, his figures have all the elemental sensuousness and dignity associated with the Mediterranean peasant.

























































Maillol studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at the Académie under Alexandre Cabanel and Jean Léon Gérôme from 1882-1886. His contemporaries Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Paul Gauguin influenced the artist. In 1893 Gauguin suggested him to join the artist Group Nabis. Around the turn of the century the Nabis developed an anti-naturalist, symbolist pictorial language with two-dimensionally-decorative, simplified colour shapes and black contours. This style influenced his early paintings and tapestry designs.
In 1897 he set up a small tapestry studio at his home village of Banyuls, where he employed local women for weavings. Up to 1900 he produced wall tapestries in the Art Nouveau style, but then an eye disease forced him to concentrate autodidactically on sculpture - small statues made of wood and clay from which he developed his monumental stone and bronze statues. The main subject of his sculptural work was the female nude, which featured a classic calmness and a clear, closed plasticity.
His first main work "La Méditerranée", made between 1902 and 1905, reveals an approach to classical, statuary forms and his striving for a closed sculptural volume, a harmonious balance and a calm classical expression, which was adopted from Hellenistic Antiquity. Aristide Maillol's compact, voluptuous female figures, reminiscent of Gauguin's women as well as of Renoir's later nudes, considerably influenced European and particularly German sculpture.
Maillol also produced important graphic works - drawings, lithographs and particularly series of woodcuts, which the enthusiast for Antiquity made to illustrate antique literature. A first overview of his creations was shown in Paris in 1937: As part of the exhibition "Les maîtres de l'art indépendant", which was shown at the Petit Palais parallel to the World Exhibition, three rooms were reserved for Maillol. The artist was awarded with large orders, e.g. in 1936 the order for the monumental sculpture "La Montagne" for the planned Museum of Modern Art in Paris. In 1944 Aristide Maillol died from the consequences of a car accident. Often Maillol is called the "Cézanne of sculpture", as he - like Cézanne - smoothed the way to abstraction.