Owls and Athena

Owl Relief Plaque

Owl Relief Plaque

… Another quick and sort-a random post today. Earlier this week I was walking up in the hills after dark when I looked up and saw this bird silhouette flying above me. A dark shape gliding against the night sky.

It was an owl, and it was actually there and gone pretty quick. But that quick sighting had me looking through my art history book for one of my favorite pictures of an old Egyptian relief carving of an owl (above), and then my mind kinda started to want to look at some pictures Athena and her owls (below).

I just love birds is all…

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The Dying Gaul

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I’ve been thinking about the ancient “The Dying Gaul” for a while now and wanted to post some photos of it, from multiple angles, here on ArtDuh. It is a beautiful sculpture, and so very well done. The original Greek bronze of this sculpture was lost to time, and this is a later Roman copy of that original Greek version.

I’ve been thinking about this so much because I have an idea for some artwork that I’d like to make. A painting that will have the main figure use a similar pose. When I think about my own idea, this sculpture keeps coming to mind as good inspiration. Always good to have reference material!

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Wulflund Jewelry

Greenman Birdie

I got a couple of new pendants from Wulflund Jewelry that I wanted to post here because I think they do beautiful work. For myself, I got the Green Man (above), and I got the bird pendant for Anna (also above). The bird is technically an owl, but it reminds me of our cockatoo Sapphron.

I really really wanted the snake (pictured below), but didn’t get it in the end because I thought it looked like it might be too big. Now I regret that decision. Maybe I will still get it. I like snakes.

I was also very tempted by Thor‘s Hammer Mjolnir (also below), but decided not to get that in the end because this type of pendant and symbol is strongly associated with the neo-pagan/heathen religion Asatru. While I am interested in pagan and heathen beliefs in general, Asatru doesn’t really describe my personal spirituality and I wanted to be respectful I guess.

Wulflund has some other very nice pieces, and I recommend everybody check out their work. And Wulflund don’t just do jewelry, they are also a full-on blacksmith with swords, armor, gauntlets, etc. I could drop a whole lot of money there, if I had more money to drop :)

etsy.com | WulflundJewelry
wulflund.com

Snake Mjolnir

ISIS Militants Destroying Antiquities in Iraq

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We learned last week that ISIS militants were destroying ancient historical artifacts on display at the Mosul Museum in Iraq. With so much murder and war going on in the area, this is just one more horror to add to the long list.

As modern human beings, we understand the ancient past through the images, sculptures, architecture, jewelry, pottery and other art objects that were left behind. There is really nothing else we have to understand ancient people. And what was destroyed were among the most ancient of known relics. What was destroyed was not just regional history, but also our shared human history, and we’ve already lost too much of our history. Its been rewritten, slaughtered, burned, and swept under the dirty rug. We can’t afford to lose any more.

You can watch the destruction here: youtube.com

Democracy Now! ran an interesting story as well, and you can listen to that here: democracynow.org

The image shown above was not the actual piece destroyed but, from what I understand, there was a similar gigantic sculpture that was destroyed. I’ve written about other similar sculptures before, and you can read that blog post here. I just can’t believe anyone would topple and take a hammer to these.

Sickening!

Ancient Venus Figures

Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Dolní Věstonice

Venus of Dolní Věstonice

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while… or at least start collecting images of these Venus clay figurines.

I love Stone Age artwork, and these Venus figures are among the oldest, created between 33,000 and 9,000 BCE. There are examples of these figures found all over Europe and Asia, but especially in France, Russia, and Germany.

There are many many of these sculptures, but I wanted to at least start my image collection here on ArtDuh.

Probably the most famous Venus is the Venus of Willendorf (image above). At least that is the first figurine I remember seeing way way back when. Then there is the Venus of Dolní Věstonice (top right image), which is especially interesting because it has a child’s fingerprint embedded in the clay. There are so many beautiful examples I guess I won’t try to write about each individual one.

Most of these are sized to about 4″ tall. Its not really known why they were made, but they probably had some sort of religious/spiritual function.

That reminds me, although they were created much more recently, I was so surprised to see so many goddess figures at the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit I went to about a year ago. Walls and walls of these little goddess, and all from Isreal. I was happy to see that the ancient Jewish faith incorporated the goddess into their faith, but also bummed that today she isn’t represented at all in Judeo/Christian religions. So very strange how that all changed…

Venus of Lespugue

Venus of Lespugue

Venus of Laussel

Venus of Laussel

Venus of Hohle Fels

Venus of Hohle Fels

Uncovered in Zaraysk, Russia

Uncovered in Zaraysk, Russia

Venus of Moravany

Venus of Moravany

Venus of Parzadzik

Venus of Parzadzik

Venus of Savignano

Venus of Savignano

Venus de Brassempouy

Venus de Brassempouy

Venus of Kostenki

Venus of Kostenki

Yeliseevichi Venus

Yeliseevichi Venus

Mercury Inventing the Caduceus

"Mercury Inventing the Caduceus" 1878 - Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

“Mercury Inventing the Caduceus” 1878 – Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

"Mercury Inventing the Caduceus" 1878 - Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

“Mercury Inventing the Caduceus” 1878 – Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

"Mercury Inventing the Caduceus" 1878 - Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

“Mercury Inventing the Caduceus” 1878 – Jean Antoine Marie Idrac

I’ve had the Caduceus on my mind lately. Maybe I’ll explain why soon, but in the mean time I thought I’d post pictures of a couple of sculpture showing Mercury (Hermes) inventing the Caduceus. Both are exceptional. I especially like the sculpture by Antonin Idrac (images above), but I also love Henri Chapu‘s interpretation (below) too!

"Mercury Inventing the Caduceus" Henri Michel Chapu - 1860-1862

“Mercury Inventing the Caduceus”
Henri Michel Chapu – 1860-1862

Riddle of the Sphinx

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It’s pretty well established that I love mythology. I also love history and follow archaeology too.

Earlier last week I came across some news out of Greece about a tomb that was discovered  dating back to 300-325 BC. The archaeologists haven’t actually gotten inside of the tomb yet, but they have cleared up to the entrance, where two giant sphinx sat guarding whomever rested inside. I’m excited to learn more as the news about this dig unfolds.

This news triggered my imagination though, because I am fascinated by ancient Greek culture, their artwork and sculpture, and I the Sphinx. I guess I should say that even though I would absolutely love to visit The Great Sphinx in Egypt someday soon, it is the mythology behind the Grecian Sphinx that inspires me the most. The stories are great, where she brings destruction and death to all of those who cannot solve her riddle.

I’ve drawn her a few times over the years, and have made a quick painting of her once or twice (which I have uploaded to the bottom of this post). Like I say though, my mind and imagination has been triggered though, so I have spent a bit of time looking through sphinx related images. And I have included some of those in this post as well.

What goes on four legs at dawn, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?

RAWR! Chomp!

www.washingtonpost.com | exceptionally-important-greek-tomb-from-era-of-alexander-the-great-discovered

www.theguardian.com | archaeologists-greece-tomb-alexander-great

uk.reuters.com | greece-tomb

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"Oedipus and the Sphinx"  by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

“Oedipus and the Sphinx” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

"Oedipus" by Gusatv Moreau

“Oedipus” by Gusatv Moreau

"Sphinx: Narcolepsy Series" by Dave McKean

“Sphinx: Narcolepsy Series” by Dave McKean

"The Chariot" - Rider / Waite Tarot

“The Chariot” – Rider / Waite Tarot

 

"Riddle" by Todd Powelson

“Riddle” by Todd Powelson

"Sphinx Drawing" by Todd Powelson

“Sphinx Drawing” by Todd Powelson

"Sphinx" by Todd Powelson

“Sphinx” by Todd Powelson