Monday, August 16, 2010

Mythological Art- Nathan Simpson


While searching the internet, I found an Australian artist named Nathen Simpson who's created a series of  interesting drawings and paintings based on Greek mythology. What do you think of this Pegasus painting? Though I do like the wings, it appears a bit tangled otherwise. I'm sure it's just me, as I'm hopelessly ignorant and know nothing of art and learning. According to Mr. Simpson's website, his paintings employ "archaic simplicity of prehistoric, ancient and medieval iconography, naive painting and children's art particulary in the use of stylisation, lack of pictorial perspective and the 'awkward' sense of balance and proportion." The artist's style reminds me of Pablo Picasso. Regarding the subject, Pegasus was the winged horse whose father was Poseidon, the god of the sea, and mother was Medusa of the perpetual bad hair day. Yes, that's the woman with snakes for hair. Not only did their handsome winged progeny become the bringer of thunderbolts to Zeus, he also formed springs by striking the ground with his hooves. A very useful horse indeed. As for the artwork, if my parents were Poseidon and Medusa, I'd have an awkward sense of balance too.  


The Minotaur is a figure from Greek mythology with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man. He lurked in the center of the Cretan Labyrinth aggressively waiting to dispatch passersby. Every nine years, seven young men and seven young woman were sent into the labyrinth to become a Minotaur feast. This sacrifice was necessary to avert a plague set as punishment to avenge the murder of Androgeus by Aegeus, the King of Athens. Aegeus committed the murder in a jealous rage as Androgeus was winning all the prizes at the Panathenaic Games. It's always sad when an adult man behaves like an overgrown twelve year old. Finally, after many years of sacrifice, the Minotaur was killed by Theseus, who escaped the labyrinth by following a trail of thread provided by Ariadne. Like many myths, there are other versions of the Minotaur story, but this is probably the best known.   


Don't ask me why, but the Manicore is a favorite of mine. This mythological beastie sports the head of a bizarre toothy man, and the body of an animal, in this case a lion. It's the Minotaur in reverse! The monster's tail is often covered in poisonous spines projectable at will. Though the head of Simpson's Manicore doesn't look very man-like to me, there are certainly a lot of teeth to make up for the discrepancy. The creature's name means man-eater, a tag emphasizing its general disposition.

Mr. Simpson is currently studying Ancient Greek, Latin and French at Sydney University. I wish him luck with his endeavors. I've often wanted to study the history of Ancient Egypt at university myself. Though feeling somewhat jealous, I promise not to hunt the artist down and dispatch him. I don't want any plagues. I'm having enough trouble with my refrigerator blowing out.   

1 comment:

  1. hmm, not my favorite art. But everyone has their own style. Pegasus is particularly heart breaking. My sympathies on the 'fridge.