Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ganymède, the cutest youg man on Earth (3) and contemporary media

Ganymede rapt has been depicted in many contemporary design, has been used as cover of books, in advertising, on lithographs etc. Here is a short selection.

Below is the Budweiser advertising of 1906, based on the engraving from the German illustrator Frank Kirchbach (1892).

Kenneth G. Kendall, from USA, was a sculptor and painter. He did some lithographs.
As he was also an actor in Hollywood, he used another actor, Steve Reeves, as model to do his Ganymede rapt drawing and lithograph seen below, in 1952.

Pierre & Gilles, famous artists from Paris, France, whose work has recently (Sept 2013-Jan 2014) been depicted, among others, during the Male art exhibition 'Masculin - Masculin' in the Orsay Museum, have created a serie of 3 drawings/paintings illustrating Ganymede's myth, as seen below.
(And it is also one of their work 'Mercure' which was choosen as the exhibition catalogue main cover illustration.) 

Pierre & Gilles website with their work, exhibitions etc. can be seen here.
In the USA, Philip Gladstone, illustrator and sculptor from Philadelphia, created the below 'rapt from Ganymede' in 2006. His website is here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ganymede, the cutest young man on Earth (2) other sculptures types, mosaic, etc.

Ganymede, and his rapt by Zeus, was often represented in the arts, through sculptures as we have seen earlier, and with other media as well. So below are some of these various depictions, in bas-reliefs, mosaic, paintings, drawings. The next post will show Ganymede used in more contemporary media.
Hebe gives the cup and pitcher to Ganymede - Bas-relief by Thorvaldsen - 1833
Thorvaldsen Museum - Copenhagen
Ganymede feeding the eagle - Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg -
Picture by S Sosnovskiy 
Ganymedes & the Eagle, Greco-Roman fresco
C3rd A.D., Kato Paphos Archaeological Park

Zeus & Ganymède, by Eucharidès, Ve c. BC, Metropolitan Museum, NYC.

Ganymede by Rubens - Schwartzenberg Palace, Vienna, Austria.

Wall decoration at Hamburger Kunsthalle - Germany
Drawing by Michelangelo Buonarotti - Collection Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II
Drawing by Michelangelo Buonarotti - Collection Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ganymede, the cutest young man on Earth (1) sculptures

Ganymede was known to be the most handsome young man on Earth. Several stories circulate about Ganymede myth, they usually converge on the fact he was very handsome, like a Young God, and Zeus felt in love with him the day he saw him playing on the fields of Troy and Mount Ida.

Sculpture from Ernst Seger, Germany - Hearst Estate - San Simeon - California.
Picture from Saint Plan

Sculpture by Thorvaldsen -Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Thorvaldsen sculpture - Copenhagen
Reportedly Zeus transformed himself into an eagle, and grabbed the boy. The two arrived fast to Mount Olympus. ''The eagle folded his wings, shook himself once and turned back into a god. He took Ganymede to bed and then appointed him cup bearer.''

Sculpture from Benvenuto Cellini - Florence - Italy
Sculpture by Adamo Tadolini 1788 -1868 in Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg.
Photo by Ayir Heklai.
Same - detail
Sculpture by Pierre Julien 1731-1804 Louvre Museum - Paris.
Picture by K. Ignatidis

Ganymede's father, Tros, cried endless tears after the loss of his son, not knowing what happened. Zeus was moved by his pain, and sent down Hermes as messenger, who let Tros know his boy was now among the gods, immortal and forever young. Zeus gave Tros in exchange for his son two beautiful and strong white horses able to walk on water, the very same that carry the immortals. Tros’ heart was filled with joy and he drove his new horses as fast as the wind.

''Zeus, grateful for Ganymede’s love, made a place for him among the stars as Aquarius – the Water Bearer. There he still stands, smiling, pouring nectar and shielded to this day by the wing of the Eagle constellation.''

Burkli Platz - Zurich - Switzerland. Hermann Hubacher
Ganymede's sculptures

Several sculptures were made to glorify or illustrate the love between Zeus and Ganymede, or Ganymede's rapt, by famous sculptors like Michelangelo or Cellini. 

Benvenuto Cellini - Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence - Italy.
Benvenuto Cellini - Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence - Italy
Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg

In Italy, some sculptures can be seen at the Vatican museum, at the Uffizzi in Florence, and at the archeological museum of Naples. Other sculptures are in various Europe's museums, like St Petersburg Hermitage, or Copenhagen, or Louvre in Paris.

At the Archeological Museum of Naples
Found in the remains of a villa Via Prenestina - Rome - Italy 
Other art media

Ganymede is also represented on other media by famous ancient artists (Le Titien, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Rubens) as well as contemporary (Pierre & Gilles and others) and this will be the subject of another post. In litterature, the myth is mentioned by Virgile, Plato, Ovide, and more recently by Goethe, Cavafy. 

An extensive collection of Ganymede's portraits, drawings, engravings, and sculptures can be seen here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Apoxyomenos from Croatia

Discovered in 1996 by an amateur scuba diver, 45 meters below the surface, it took three years to successfully take the statue out of the water, near the Croatian island of Losinj / Vele Orjule, in the Adriatic Sea, thanks to the Croatian archeologists together with specialists from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, Italy.

The Croatian Apoxyomenos is a bronze statue dating back to the 2nd century BC. It is considered one of the few great works of ancient bronze that has ever been fully recovered.

After seven years of conservation and restoration, the work, marked as an Underwater Heritage Site by UNESCO, was exceptionnally presented during 3 months at the Louvre Parius Museum early 2013.

600 years BC, Greeks knew how to cast bronze, and used it a lot for their statues. Most of these sculptures, mentioned by the writers from that era, disappeared, as bronze was reused to produce coins, plates, arms, Tools. This Croatian statue is therefore a rare testimony about their art.

Close to 2 meters high( 1.92m), with red cupper inserted for the lips and tits,  this statue is an 'apoxyomenos', which in old greek means an athlete, busy cleaning his body with a 'strigile', a metallic scraper, in order to remove the mixture of oïl and sand and sweat that sticks to his skin. Athletes of Antiquity exercising naked and outdoor coated their body of an oïl, which, during the athletic exercises, mixed with the sand of the palaestra.

The moment chosen by the artist is the one that occurred after the exercise : the head of the athlete down to the hands betrays a specific gesture. This subtle composition allows the observer to enter within the privacy of a gyum scene, and allows us to understand how the ancient sculptors were keen observers of male nudity.
picture Marie Lan Nguyen
 This statue was only displayed twice abroad : in Florence in 2006, and Paris in 2012/2013.

From research undertaken so far it is presumed that the statue was part of a Roman cargo ship, which sailed to large northern cities, uch as Aquileia, Ravenna or Pula, or to a refine place outsidecities, such as a luxury villa on the island of Veli Brijuni in the bay Verige.

Videos of this discovery can be seen here and here. The Louvre Museum ceremony, with both French and English parts, explaining this discovery and the larger context, is to be seen here.