Love and Longing in Art: Achilles and Patroclus

achilles-patroclus-Gavin-Hamilton

The story of Achilles and Patroclus is central to the story of Iliad. It is the death of Patroclus – when clad in Achilles’s armour – that ends the feud between Achilles and Agamemnon. It is the death of his friend that ignites Achilles into action, and sets into motion a sequence of events that […]

Envy in Art: Circe, Cain, Time and Fame

Cain-and-Abel-Envy

Yesterday I wrote a post on envy. Today, even though it’s the day for ‘love and longing’, I found myself gravitating back to the same theme. In the video I shared in my last post, Parul Mathur spoke about how fiction is the best place to find envy. I figured art wouldn’t be too far […]

Love and Longing in Art: Troilus and Cressida

Cressida

Last night, I was reading a re-telling of the Trojan War story by Olivia Coolidge, and I chanced upon the tale of Troilus and Cressida. This is one of the few stories in the Iliad that speaks of a woman’s betrayal of a man. The common theme in mythology is of how men use women […]

Love and Longing in Art: Demeter and Persephone

Demeter-Persephone-1

When we think of the phrase ‘love and longing’, we often just think of romantic love. In today’s post we’ll look at one of Greek mythology’s most famous stories – about the love of a mother for her daughter. Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest. If there is a mother-goddess in the Greek […]

Love and Longing in Art: Orpheus and Eurydice

V0045106 Savitrī pleading with Yama for her husband, Satya

Orpheus was a musician, poet and prophet in ancient Greek mythology. Like the Hindu Tumbura and Narada, his music was thought to be so delectable as to melt rocks, coax animals into submission, and to divert the course of rivers. Some versions of the Jason myth name Orpheus as one of the argonauts. However, Orpheus’s […]

Love and Longing in Art: Echo and Narcissus

Echo_and_Narcissus

In Book III of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he tells the story of Echo, the talkative mountain nymph, and Narcissus, the vain youth from Thespia. Echo The tale, like most tales in mythology, begins with Zeus’s desire to frolic with the mountain nymphs while hiding from the jealous eye of Hera, his wife. Some versions say that Zeus tasked […]

Why Are We Taught To Finish Our Food?

norman-rockwell-thanksgiving

A few weeks back, my mother invited my dad’s maternal uncle over to our place for lunch. This was the first meal he’d had in our house for almost twenty years. After he had his fill, he sat in his favourite chair in our living room, raised his hand and said, Annadaata Sukhibhava (‘blessed is the […]

The Original Damsel in Distress: Andromeda

Andromeda - Edward Poynter

We’re all familiar with the hero myth that persists in our movies to this day. Central to it is a damsel in distress that the hero must rescue. A spotless white horse, a flying red cape, a dazzling sword, and shining armour are bare necessities. Today we will look at perhaps the story that gave rise to […]

Realism in Art: Children and Mirrors

Norman-Rockwell-Girl-at-Mirror-1954

Some of my recent posts have dealt with feminism and gender issues, which got me thinking whether men and women are born different or are shaped differently by culture and society. Then I ran into the two pictures above, by Norman Rockwell. He is most famous for the real-life cover illustrations he did for Saturday […]

Romantic art: The Lady of Shalott

John_William_Waterhouse_The_Lady_of_Shalott

The legend of King Arthur is to English culture what the Ramayana is to Indians. There is much debate about whether he truly existed in the form that he is talked about, though the places that he ruled over – Glastonbury, Tintagel, Camelot etc – still stand, just like ur Ayudhya does. Much has been written […]