Ancient Greek mythology is a subject that is as wide as it is popular. And while there have been gazillions of discussions surrounding the Greek heroes, the same cannot be said about the Greek goddesses. However, artists deserve massive recognition for bringing the Greek goddesses to light through their Greek goddess paintings.
The Greek mythology paintings centered around the Greek goddesses have been interpreted ever since they came into existence. Additionally, their symbolic significance also changed with culture and time, given their subjective nature.
From Aphrodite, who is considered the goddess of love to Nemesis, who possesses the power to gamble with luck, the Greek goddesses embodied as much power and spirit as the Greek Gods did. Let’s explore some of these riveting goddesses through the lens of a painter, shall we?
Pandora Crowned by the Seasons by William Etty, 1823 – 1824
William Etty took great intrigue in this subject, but his “Pandora Crowned by the Seasons” steals the spotlight. Pandora was the first mortal woman who Vulcan created on the order of Jupiter. After completing Pandora from the earth’s clay, all the divine beings presented her with gifts, among which lay the famous Pandora’s box given to her by Jupiter.
Pandora was asked to give that box to her husband, but the plan conspired by Jupiter failed when Prometheus saw through his ruse and rejected Pandora. However, Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus, lacked the same level of intelligence and opened the box after marrying Pandora.
This prompted the release of sorrow and diseases into the world, which constitutes our life on earth even today. In the painting, Etty depicts Pandora in a graceful stature as she is being crowned by the different gods and goddesses, with Vulcan and Venus seated on either side.
Aphrodite and Ares by Sandro Botticelli, 1483
“Aphrodite and Ares,” painted by the Italian Renaissance master, Sandro Botticelli in 1483, illustrates the story of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and Ares, the god of war. However, despite their pure and deep love for each other, Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, the god of fire.
Botticelli takes this opportunity to depict them together in his artwork, where they can be seen laying together, surrounded by a sense of calm. Unfortunately, though, what the couple doesn’t notice are the invisible ropes forged by Hephaestus that bind Aphrodite in its grasp as she obviously watches her lover sleep.
The Origin of the Milky Way by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1575
According to the Byzantine textbook, ‘Geoponica,’ Zeus had an intense wish to immortalize his son, Hercules, born from a mortal woman. So to make his wish come true, he took Hercules to his wife, Hera (Juno), the goddess of marriage and childbirth.
As Jupiter made Hercules drink milk from a sleeping Juno’s breast, she was roused from her slumber and instinctively pushed the infant away. This caused some of Hera’s milk to spill in the sky, thus creating the Milky Way galaxy.
The blue sky mixed with white lead contrasts beautifully with the vermilion cloaks of Zeus. The yellow drapery further enhances the richness of the paintings, with the brush strokes detailed and stark.
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, 1483 – 1485
“The Birth of Venus” is perhaps the milestone of Sandro Botticelli’s career. Based on the ancient writings of a poet, Homer, this Greek goddess painting illustrates the love and beauty, Venus, born on Cyprus’s island. She rises out of the seafoam and is riding on a seashell. She does so with the help of Zephyrus, God of Winds, and the breeze, which Aura personifies.
The theme of the painting revolves around Spring as Pomona, the goddess of Spring, welcomes Venus with blooming flowers. The painting is as picturesque as it is detailed, with Botticelli paying particular attention to the contours and outlines of Aphrodite’s body.
Pallas Athene by Gustav Klimt, 1898
The goddess Athene, is wisdom and strength. He rejected the traditional gender norms and embodied qualities generally associated with males. Gustav Klimt, in his artwork, “Pallas Athene,” also left his usual theme of feminine women and redefined gender roles by portraying Athene as a symbol of authority and power.
Athene is painted in a stance of pride and defiance, with one hand clutching a spear. The golden helmet further accentuates her stature as a worrier, and the vibrant, gold-leaf artwork makes her armor stand out.
Her gaze is determined, and her mouth is set in a pursed line, resolve and focus exuding from them. Klimt also portrayed sexuality in a new light by equating power with desire, which undermined the tendency of equating women to nothing but sexual stimulants.
The Greek mythology paintings did their part in highlighting the mighty Greek goddesses tremendously. However, these famous Greek goddess paintings need more recognition, along with the Greek goddesses, and can be found at 1st-art-gallery.com. So visit this site which is also the world’s largest supplier of made-to-order oil paintings, and delve into the world of these spirited goddesses!