Wednesday, June 8, 2016

13 Olympian deities, Classical Sculpture of Greek and Roman religion, Sculpture, with footnotes, 1

Cart of Dionysus 
Dionysus with maenad on the two panthers drawn wagon with Cupid
Marble Relief
62 x 120 cm

Dionysus  is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Wine played an important role in Greek culture with the cult of Dionysus the main religious focus for unrestrained consumption. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. More

Antonio Canova, (1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822)

In Greek mythology Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as a winged human female with a hideous face and living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazers on her face would turn to stone. She lived and died on an island named Sarpedon, somewhere near Cisthene. The 2nd-century BCE novelist Dionysios Skytobrachion puts her somewhere in Libya, where Herodotus had said the Berbers originated her myth, as part of their religion.

Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head, which retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. In classical antiquity the image of the head of Medusa appeared in the evil-averting device known as the Gorgoneion. More

Antonio Canova 1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822) was an Italian neoclassical sculptor, famous for his marble sculptures. Often regarded as the greatest of the neoclassical artists,[4] his artwork was inspired by the Baroque and the classical revival, but avoided the melodramatics of the former, and the cold artificiality of the latter. More

Hanno Edelmann, Hamburg 1923 - 2013 
 'Philemon and Baucis' , c. 1980
Bronze with brown patina,
h. 22, 5 cm, 

In Ovid's moralizing fable which stands on the periphery of Greek mythology and Roman mythology, Baucis and Philemon were an old married couple in the region of Tyana, which Ovid places in Phrygia, and the only ones in their town to welcome disguised gods Zeus and Hermes, thus embodying the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship termed xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved. More

Edelmann shows the aged couple Philemon and Baucis as symbol of deep love and attachment till death.

Hanno Edelmann, Hamburg 1923 - 2013 was a painter, a graphic artist and a sculptor He began his apprenticeship as a lithographer, after the war he studied at the Hamburg academy under W. Grimm a. I. Hauptmann, in contrast to contemporary trends he adhered to figurative art, study trips to Spain and Greece enriched his paintings with the glowing colours of the South. Since 1980 he turned his focus towards sculptural design.

A Roman Marble Head of Sarapis, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Based on a cult statue in Alexandria created by Bryaxis in the late 4th Century B.C
Height 28 cm. 11 in.

Serapis is a Graeco-Egyptian god. The cult of Serapis was introduced during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The cultus of Serapis was spread as a matter of deliberate policy by the Ptolemaic kings, who also built an immense serapeum in Alexandria.

However, there is evidence which implies that the cult of Serapis existed before the Ptolemies came to power in Alexandria – a temple of Sarapis (or Roman Serapis) in Egypt is mentioned in 323. The common assertion that Ptolemy "created" the deity is derived from sources which describe him erecting a statue of Sarapis in Alexandria: this statue enriched the texture of the Sarapis conception by portraying him in both Egyptian and Greek style. Sarapis was a syncretistic deity derived from the worship of the Egyptian Osiris and Apis, and also gained attributes from other deities, such as chthonic powers linked to the Greek Hades and Demeter, and benevolence linked to Dionysus.

Serapis continued to increase in popularity during the Roman period, often replacing Osiris as the consort of Isis in temples outside Egypt. In 389, a Christian mob led by the Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria destroyed the Alexandrian serapeum, but the cult survived until all forms of pagan religion were suppressed under Theodosius I in 391. More

A Roman Marble Herm Bust of Hermes, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Height 37.5 cm. 14 3/4 in

Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia, and the second youngest of the Olympian gods.

Hermes is considered a god of transitions and boundaries. He is described as quick and cunning, moving freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine. He is also portrayed as an emissary and messenger of the gods; an intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He has been viewed as the protector and patron of herdsmen, thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade, roads, boundaries and travelers.

In some myths, he is a trickster and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or for the sake of humankind. His attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster, the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals, and winged cap. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus, which appears in a form of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics such as being the patron of commerce. More

A Roman Marble Head of a Boy, probably Hermes, circa late 2nd Century A.D.
Height 19 cm. 7 1/4 in.

Hermes, circa 2nd Century A.D., see above

A Roman Marble Head of a Bearded God, probably Asklepios,
circa late 2nd Century A.D
height 26 cm. 10 1/4 in.

Asclepius was a hero and god of medicine in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts. He was associated with the Roman/Etruscan god Vediovis and the Egyptian Imhotep. He was one of Apollo's sons, sharing with Apollo the epithet Paean ("the Healer"). The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today. Those physicians and attendants who served this god were known as the Therapeutae of Asclepius. More

A Roman Marble Votive Stele of Asklepios, perhaps Gallo-Roman, 
2nd/3rd Century A.D.
Height 27 cm. 10 1/2 in.

Asklepios, see above

A Roman Marble Figure of Asklepios, circa 3rd Century A.D.
 height 50 cm. 19 11/16 in.
found in the 19th Century at Kyzikos on the Propontis in ancient Mysia

Asklepios, see above

Roman Marble Head of Apollo, circa 2nd Century A.D.
 height 16 cm. 6 5/16 in.
Found in 1916 at Sezze in Lazio

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, and Greek and Roman mythology. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis.

As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. 

In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon. More

A Roman Marble Head of Dionysos, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Height 28 cm. 11 in.
Found at the base of a pedestal in the gardens of the Château de la Mauvoisinière

Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Alcohol, especially wine, played an important role in Greek culture with Dionysus being an important reason for this life style. His name shows that he may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete. 

In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother.[ His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. Modern scholarship categorises him as a dying-and-rising god.

The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a thyrsus. Later images show him as a beardless, sensuous, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish". His procession (thiasus) is made up of wild female followers (maenads) and bearded satyrs with erect penises. Some are armed with the thyrsus, some dance or play music. The god himself is drawn in a chariot, usually by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers. This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the human followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. In his Thracian mysteries, he wears the bassaris or fox-skin, symbolizing a new life. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society.

Also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans. His thyrsus is sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey. It is a beneficent wand but also a weapon, and can be used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. He is also called the liberator, whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious. His cult is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead.

In Greek mythology, he is presented as a son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, thus semi-divine or heroic: and as son of Zeus and Persephone or Demeter, thus both fully divine. Some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. More

A Roman Marble Dionysiac Relief, circa A.D. 170-180
28.5 by 71.5 cm. 11 1/4 by 28 1/8 in

From left to right with a satyr ( male companions of Dionysus) resting his foot on a cista mystica (A box or basket used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans for various practical and mystical purposes.), an erote (winged god associated with love and sex in Greek mythology) peeking in, Pan (god of the wild, shepherds and flocks) standing behind, a manead ( female followers of Dionysus) playing the double flute, striding Silenus (companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus) hunched over on a fragmentary staff, a satyr carrying an animal on his shoulders, a maenad holding a tympanon, and a satyr holding a krater; 

A Marble Votive Figure of Kybele, Late Hellenistic or Early Roman Imperial, Circa 1st Century B.C./1st Century A.D.
Height 18 cm. 7 1/8 in.

Enthroned with her feet on a footrest, and holding a bowl in her right hand and formerly a tympanum in her now missing left hand, and wearing a girdled chiton and himation falling from her left shoulder and draped over her lap, her long hair surmounted by a polos, a seated lion to her right.

Cybele is an Anatolian (Asia Minor) mother goddess, and Phrygia's (west central part of  Turkey) only known goddess; probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BCE.

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis (god of vegetation), who was probably a Greek invention. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle recommended her conscription as a key religious component in Rome's second war against Carthage. Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. More

A Roman Marble Figure of Pan Playing the Flute, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Height 43 cm. 17 in.

His face with long unruly beard, smiling mouth preserving the tip of his flute, gnarled brow, and pointed ears, and wearing an animal skin knotted at the waist,

Pan was the god of the wild, hunting and companion of the nymphs. He was depicted as being half human, while having the legs and horns of a goat, just like a faun; his Roman counterpart was Faunus. 

There were no temples attributed to Pan, but he was rather worshipped in natural settings such as caves. It was believed that he often chased nymphs in order to seduce them, but he was always turned down due to his ugly appearance. More

A Roman Marble Figure of Eros with the Attributes of Herakles, 
circa 2nd Century A.D.
Height 90 cm. 35 7/16 in

The statue belongs to a statuary type of Eros. The original is dated to the late Hellenistic period. Other copies prove that the original showed the boy riding on a dolphin. In the present case, the sculptor changed the boy’s seat and added the lion skin, an attribute of Herakles. Depicting Eros as Herakles was not uncommon in Roman times. The attributes of the hero symbolize the power of the god of love.

Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid[4] ("desire"). Some myths make him a primordial god, while in other myths, he is the son of Aphrodite. He was one of the winged love gods, Erotes. More

A Roman Marble Relief of Mithras Slaying the Bull, 2nd/early 3rd Century A.D.
84.5 by 127.5 cm. 33 1/4 by 50 1/4 in.

Mithras pinning the bull to the ground, pulling its head back, and plunging his knife into its forequarter, the god with head turned back and billowing mantle, flanked by diminutive figures of Cautes on the left holding a downward-turned torch, and of Cautopates on the right holding an upright torch, all wearing Eastern dress, a dog attacking the bull in front and a scorpion and serpent biting at its genitals, a bust of Sol accompanied by a raven in the upper left corner, another of Selene in the right corner.

Mithraism was a mystery religion centred around the god Mithras that was practised in the Roman Empire. The religion was inspired by Persian worship of the god Mithra.

Worshippers of Mithras had a complex system of seven grades of initiation, with ritual meals. Initiates called themselves syndexioi, those "united by the handshake". They met in underground temples which survive in large numbers. The cult appears to have had its centre in Rome.

The Romans regarded the Mithraism as having Persian or Zoroastrian sources. Since the early 1970s the dominant scholarship has noted dissimilarities between Persian Mithra-worship and the Roman Mithraic mysteries. In this context, Mithraism has sometimes been viewed as a rival of early Christianity with similarities such as liberator-saviour, hierarchy of adepts (archbishops, bishops, priests), communal meal and a hard struggle of Good and Evil. More

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

Acknowledgement: Sotheby's Auktionshaus Stahl,

Sunday, June 5, 2016

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - 15 & 16th Century Paintings from the Bible! With Footnotes - Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) The Hay Wagon, 23

Hieronymus Bosch's The Haywain Triptych, an important Dutch masterpiece, is returning to the Netherlands this fall for two major exhibitions marking the first time the work sets foot on Dutch soil in 450 years. The Haywain will be among the genre paintings providing a glimpse of everyday life in the 16th century. 

Five hundred years ago, a cheeky Roman Catholic artist from the Dutch town of ’s-Hertogenbosch revolutionized the triptych, the three-panel altarpiece form traditionally used for scenes of virgins, cherubs and saints.

In his “Haywain Triptych” of 1515, Hieronymus Bosch instead painted in ordinary sinners — murderers, whores, quacks and errant clergymen — being escorted toward Hell by a weird parade of rodent-faced demons and fish-shaped devils. It is among the most popular works of early Renaissance art still around today. More

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Oil on panel
Height: 147 cm (57.9 in). Width: 212 cm (83.5 in).
Current location
Prado Museum

The Haywain Triptych is a panel painting by Hieronymus Bosch, currently housed in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain. The painting was part of a group of six acquired by king Philip II of Spain in 1570, and shipped to El Escorial four years later. It was later sold to the Marquis of Salamanca, and divided into three paintings. In 1848, the central panel was bought by Isabella II of Spain and brought to Aranjuez, the right one was returned to Escorial and the left went to the Prado. The triptych was finally recomposed in 1914 in the latter museum.

"Bosch did not invent the hay wain motif, which had previously appeared in 15th century songs. Hay wains also featured in urban parades, carrying emblematic personages with banderoles identifying them as different forms of objectionable behaviour. Several scenes in the foreground of Bosch's Hay Wain are comparable with the texts or prosen that appeared in the banderoles displayed in the parade. Other examples of behaviour that were characterized as 'hay' were gluttony, folly, lechery, avarice and deceit. In other words, the Hay Wain is a critical mirror of various objectionable and foolishly sinful forms of conduct, as reflected in the earliest interpretation of Bosch's painting. This comes from a text by Ambrosio de Morales (1513-91) about the 'Table of Cebes', a literary text dating possibly from the 1st century AD, which was drawn on several times by artists in the 16th an 17h centuries... '"hooiwagen ... in Castilian, amounts to "wagon of trivial things". This hay wain is thus truly a "trash cart" and its name matches its meaning...' More

The Haywain triptych exists in two versions, one in the Escorial (San Lorenzo de El Escorial), the other in the Prado, Madrid. Both are in poor condition and have been heavily restored, and scholars disagree as to which is the original. 

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Center Panel

The central panel features a large wagon of hay surrounded by a multitude of fools engaged in a variety of sins, quite apart from the sins of lust which dominates the Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Top Center Panel

In the center panel Bosch shows Christ in the sky, not paralleled in the Garden. An angel on top of the wagon looks to the sky, praying, but none of the other figures see Christ looking down on the world. 

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Center Panel

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Center Panel

The rightward bow of the figures around the wagon provides the force for the viewer’s eye to move with them on their journey and the cart is drawn by infernal beings which drag everyone to Hell, depicted on the right panel.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Center Panel

All these sinners are following the holy bale of hay, trying to scrape away a little for themselves, and all the while murdering each other, amassing personal wealth and lusting after the opposite sex. Hay, after all, is also what you might use to kindle a fire.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Center Panel

Kings and bishops are all following the hay, too. The king seems to be taking the council of one holy man with a golden crown. It’s worthwhile noting that the King is wearing exactly the same crown as God in the first panel. The bishop is wearing the same-coloured robe too. Both of them have garbed themselves in the dress of earthly gods, Bosch seems to be saying, but neither of them have quite got it right.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Center Panel

In the bottom right of this panel, a fat, corpulent friar gets drunk while his subordinate monks and nuns stuff a sack full of the holy hay, hoarding it for themselves. Beside them, one nun is trying to pay a musician with a handful.

A diagram beside his table shows worms and even a rat invading a human heart – and sure enough, in his pouch there is also a bundle of hay. beside him, women and ladies in waiting share gossip, and care for children while roasting a pig’s head spiced with herbs.

The details here are wonderful, and paint such a clear vision of everyday life in the Medieval Netherlands. The clothes, the food, the burning moral quandaries – all of it a perfect snapshot of how people lived, and what they feared.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Bottom Left Panel

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Top Left Panel

At the top of the left panel, the rebel angels are cast out of Heaven while God sits enthroned, the angels turning into insects as they break through the clouds.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail,Bottom Left Panel

God creates Eve from the rib of Adam. Next, Adam and Eve find the serpent and the tree; the serpent offers them an apple. Finally, at the lowest part of the panel, the angel forces the two out of the Garden of Eden. Adam speaks with the angel; Eve, in a melancholic pose, looks ahead to the right.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Detail, Right Panel

It would be fair to say that Bosch was obsessed with fire, and for good reason. He grew up and spent much of his life in the thriving Dutch city of Brabant, where, in 1463, 4,000 houses in the town were destroyed by a catastrophic fire. The approximately 13-year-old Bosch presumably witnessed this terrifying event, and the particularly horrific and realistic depiction of hell here seems to spring right from those memories: the sky choked with smoke, lit from beneath by the flames.

The beasts and demons aren’t just tearing humans apart, flaying them, devouring them alive and hanging them from the rooftops – they’re also building some kind of demonic tower. One demon is chopping some wood into a beam, while another is climbing a ladder with a hod full of mortar, and a monster with a frog’s body puts a brick meticulously into place.

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516)
The Hay Wagon, circa 1516
Cover, Shutters

The exterior of the shutters, like most contemporary Netherlandish triptychs, were also painted, although in this case Bosch used full colors instead of the usual grisaille. When closed, they form a single scene depicting a wayfarer. Around him is a series of miniatures including the robbery of another wayfarer and a hanged man. The man uses a stick to repel a dog.

According to the most recent interpretations, this figure may represent the man who follows his road in spite of the temptation of sins (such as lust, perhaps symbolized by the two dancing shepherds) and the evil acts occurring around him.

Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516) was an Early Netherlandish painter. His work is known for its fantastic imagery, detailed landscapes, and illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Within his lifetime his work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely copied, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell.

Little is known of Bosch's life, though there are some records. He spent most of it in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch, where he was born in his grandfather's house. The roots of his forefathers are in Aachen, in present-day Germany. His pessimistic and fantastical style cast a wide influence on northern art of the 16th century, with Pieter Bruegel the Elder being his best known follower. His paintings have been difficult to translate from a modern point of view; attempts to associate instances of modern sexual imagery with fringe sects or the occult have largely failed. Today he is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into man's desires and deepest fears. Attribution has been especially difficult; today only about 25 paintings are confidently given to his hand along with 8 drawings. Approximately another half dozen paintings are confidently attributed to his workshop. His most acclaimed works consist of a few triptych altarpieces, the most outstanding of which is The Garden of Earthly Delights. More

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia, Paul M.M. Cooper