Pollaiuolo’s Apollo and Daphne

Piero del Pollaiuolo, about 1441 – before 1496Apollo and Daphne, 1470-1480, oil on wood, 29.5 x 20 cm, The National Gallery, London

Daphne, daughter of Peneus, was Apollo’s first love, which not blind chance, but Cupid’s savage anger, gave… One suddenly loves, the other flees the name of lover, rejoicing in the hiding-places of the woods and with the spoils of captured beasts (and) as an imitator of unmarried Diana: a ribbon was restraining hair placed without rule… Having barely finished the prayer, a heavy numbness seizes her limbs, her soft breasts are girded by thin bark, her hair grows into foliage, her arms into branches, her foot, just now so swift, clings by sluggish roots, her face has the top of a tree: a single splendor remains in her… since you can’t be my bride, at least you will certainly be my tree! Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Wikisource, Daphne and Apollo help us better understand the dynamics in Pollaiuolo’s Apollo and Daphne painting.     https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Metamorphoses/Daphne_and_Apollo

A tiny picture in the National Gallery, inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, tells us so many stories… “the rivalry of the gods, the power and danger of desire and the tragedy of unrequited love.”     https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/piero-del-pollaiuolo-apollo-and-daphne

The literary source for this amazing panel painting comes from the Metamorphoses, a narrative poem, built upon the Hellenistic erudite tradition, written during the period of Augustus, c. 8 AD, by the Roman poet Ovid. The poem includes 11,995 lines and is divided between 15 books and presents 250 myths. It is a record of world history starting with the creation of the world and finishing with the deification of Julius Caesar. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is considered the poet’s magnum opus. It was popular among the Romans and later highly regarded among Renaissance artists, as, rich in myths… transformations, personifications, loves, rivalries, jealousies, happy ends and tragic ends, communicated the greatest of stories!

Piero del Pollaiuolo’s painting of Apollo and Daphne depicts the most crucial of moments… the rivalry between Apollo and Cupid is a fait accompli, as one (Apollo) suddenly loves, and the other (Daphne) flees the name of lover. Apollo’s desire frightens Daphne who cries for help Father bring help! Rivers, if you have divinity, destroy my shape by which I’ve pleased too much, by changing it. Apollo’s love is not returned, and Daphne is slowly turned into the beautiful Laurel Tree. The god is, however, still enamoured and he loves this one too (the Laurel Tree) and with a right hand placed on the trunk feels that her heart still trembles under the new bark… As Daphne is slowly metamorphosing, he softly talks to her since you can’t be my bride, at least you will certainly be my tree! My hair will always have you, my lyres (will have you), my quivers (will have you), O Laurel…

For Polaiuolo, the Greek Myth of Apollo and Daphne becomes a Florentine affair. Daphne like Petrarch’s Laura becomes the ideal, unattainable love of the Renaissance courtly circles, “fair-skinned, blonde and seemingly modest.” She “allows young men to nobly strive for an ideal beauty beyond their reach.” Apollo, fair, blonde and aristocratic as well, seems persistent but genteel. Is he symbolically representing an idealized “portrait” of Lorenzo de’ Medici? Let’s not forget that the leader of the Florentine privileged society saw himself as the forceful god Apollo and had adopted the laurel as part of his personal emblem. The background landscape scene is definitely presenting the Tuscan countryside with the Arno river valley and the distant vista of the city of Florence itself. The painting may be small in size, but Piero del Pollaiuolo realized a small treasure, to “be admired close up by an educated patron.”     https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/piero-del-pollaiuolo-apollo-and-daphne

If you please… access a PowerPoint with artwork depicting the Myth of Apollo and Daphne HERE!

For a Student Activity on the Myth of Apollo and Daphne, please… check HERE!

A Bulletin Board with Elementary School level Activities on Plants and Myths, very popular among my students.

Correggio’s Jupiter and Io

Antonio Allegri da Correggio, 1489 – 1534
Jupiter and Io, 1531-32, oil on canvas, 163.5 × 70.5 cm, Kunsthisstorisches Museums, Vienna
Photo credited to https://da.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florence-rome/late-renaissance-venice/v/correggio-jupiter-and-io

According to Kelly Richman-Abdou “Mannerism is the Style That Put an Elaborate Twist on Renaissance Art.” I like her comment, and how it applies to our Mannerist painting in focus, Correggio’s Jupiter and Io! MY MODERN MET, October 21, 2018, https://mymodernmet.com/what-is-mannerism/

My question is how can order, harmony, and balance, ideals of Classical Art and the Renaissance be “turned/twisted” into something fresh and exciting? Is Mannerism to Renaissance what Hellenistic Art was to 5th century BC Classicism? This is not an easy question to answer. Is Correggio’s mythological painting of Jupiter and Io a good example to start… better so, scratch the mere surface?

Antonio Allegri da Correggio is an interesting artist to consider. Famous today for his illusionistic, grand domed ceilings, Correggio is a protagonist of Mannerism! Giorgio Vasari wrote, “…everything that is to be seen by his [Correggio’s] hand is admired as something divine.” He is so right! Correggio’s paintings were appreciated by generations of fervent art patrons and artists… from Dukes to Emperors and from Rubens to Boucher. Vasari was also the first to write about Corregggio’s handling of colours, chiaroscuro, and textures, as well. “It may, at least, be held for certain that no one ever handled colors better than he and that no craftsman ever painted with greater delicacy or with more relief, such was the softness of his flesh-painting and such the grace with which he finished his works…” Today, describing the unique “softness” of his painting technique, we use the term “morbidezza,” meaning extreme softness, delicacy, and fuzziness. https://www.oxfordreference.com/noresults;jsessionid=58804597E272C2C21C9F375C6CEFC612?btog=chap&noresults=true&pageSize=20&q=morbid+ezza&sort=relevance

Correggio’s Jupiter and Io was most probably, one of four mythological paintings representing the Loves of Zeus, or Jupiter for the Romans, commissioned by the Duke of Mantua, Federico Il Gonzaga, for the decoration of his private Studiolo. These paintings render the myths of, 1. Jupiter and Io, 1531-32, oil on canvas, 163.5 × 70.5 cm, Kunsthisstorisches Museums, Vienna 2. Danaë, 1531, oil on canvas, 161 x 193 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome 3. Leda and the Swan, 1532, oil on canvas, 156.2 x 195.3 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin 4. Ganymede Abducted by the Eagle, 1531-1532, oil on canvas, 163.5 × 70.5 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The myth of Jupiter and Io, depicted in one of the two Vienna paintings by Correggio, is popular and well-liked since antiquity. Lust, deceit, jealousy, revenge and suffering, interwind, creating a fascinating story to render in art. Correggio did an amazing job! I love his Mannerist “twisted” use of posture, movement, and texture. Using a narrow upright format he creates a stable, vertical composition, but Io’s body turns, curls and entwines, so unnaturally, around the charcoal grey cloud of Zeus, it is impossible not to notice. Her firm naked body shimmers in the light and contrasts with the thick, dark, fuzzy cloud that envelops her. What a magnificent contrast of colours and textures. The faces of Zeus and Io make you wonder… what is he whispering to her ear that makes her look so “abandoned”?

For a Student RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project), please… check HERE!

Hercules at the Crossroads

Hercules at the Crossroads Bulletin Board Display

Hercules at the Crossroads is an ancient Greek parable. It came down to us through Xenophone but is attributed to Prodicus of Ceos, a 5th-century philosopher. According to Prodicus, young Hercules, at the threshold of adulthood, meets two women, personifications of Virtue and Vice, and faces a choice. One of the women is beautiful but dignified, dressed modestly, looking genuine and pure. The other is equally beautiful but voluptuous in form, richly dressed, looking superficial. They represent the two paths of life, that of Virtue and that of Vice, and Hercules chooses Virtue, the road of honour, hard work but noble deeds.

Created thousands of years ago, the  Greek Myths of Hercules tell us epic stories, adventures of demigods, heroes and monsters, tales of love, loyalty, betrayal, friendship, bravery…  They show that gods and heroes, very much like ordinary humans, men and women alike, can be right or wrong, fail or succeed, love or hate. Hercules and his extraordinary deeds offer our students a glimpse into the lives of the Ancient Greek people, their culture and art.

The parable of Hercules at the Crossroads became a popular motif in Western art, just like the lovely hand-fan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/hercules-crossroads-30805

For my Grade 1 Host Country Studies class, I decided to do a HAND-FAN Activity. We created simple, paper HAND-FANS and we decorated them with WORDS representing the concepts of VIRTUE and VICE. We added a beautiful coloured ribbon and… Voila!!!

Words of Virtue or Vice HAND-FAN Activity

For the Worksheet on the Activity, please… Check HERE!

For the PowerPoint, please… Check HERE!

Dionysus and Ariadne

Dionysus and Ariadne, 200-250 AD, floor mosaic, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

The Myth of Theseus, the Minotaur, Dionysus and Ariadne has it all! love, adventure, an impossible task, betrayal, and sacrifice. The adventure starts in the city of Troezene, where Theseus is born, and unfolds by travelling us to Athens, the island of Crete, the island of Naxos, and back to Athens again. My Grade 6 Host Country Studies students LOVE the Myth and the art, so, I prepared a PowerPoint Activity for them…

Instructions on what to do:

Research: Find 5 Artworks presenting the mythological princess Ariadne. Artworks can be paintings, sculptures, etc. How to do research for Artworks on Ariadne: Go to Google –Ariadne Myth – Pictures.

Research-Writing: Do not forget that the correct identification for each artwork you use is mandatory.  (Correct identification should include: Name of artist, the title of the artwork, date, medium, where the artwork is. For example, Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, 1522-23, oil on canvas, the National Gallery, London)

Art: BE CREATIVE! Prepare an appealing PowerPoint!!!

For a short but well-documented presentation of the Mosaic, go to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki site on its Highlights and scroll down… http://amth.gr/en/exhibitions/highlights

For a PowerPoint on the Myth, please… Check HERE!

The Myth of Ouranos and Gaia

Kindergarten Art inspired by the Myth of Ouranos and Gaia

My Kindergarten Mythology Class started with the Myth of Ouranos and Gaia.

Created thousands of years ago, Greek Myths tell us epic stories, adventures of demigods, heroes, and monsters, tales of love, loyalty, betrayal, friendship, bravery… Greek Myths show that the gods, very much like ordinary humans, men and women alike, can be right or wrong, fail or succeed, love or be jealous. Greek Myths and the extraordinary deeds of their protagonists are to be found on everything, from ancient Greek pottery to temple decoration to stone statues, paintings, music, and poetry! Greek Myths offer my Kindergarten students a glimpse into the lives of the Ancient Greek people, their culture and art.

Lesson Plan Steps

My Classroom Lesson always starts with a warm welcome, a short sentence on what the Lesson will be about… “Imagine two powerful gods, one was Gaia/Earth, our planet, the other was Ouranos, the Sky above us… “and continues with the Myth.

Here are some interesting sites on Ouranos and Gaia: https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Ouranos.html and https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Gaia.html

My students love our next Activity… We go to the schoolyard, we lie down and “feel the earth”. Then we “look up and try to reach the sky”.

Finally, back in class, students are asked to do an Art Activity with different colored papers. Blue represents the sky, green the earth, yellow the sun and the stars, pink, red and lighter green, the plants and the flowers.

For student Artwork, please… Click HERE!

Gilgamesh, the Sumerian Hero

Could “Gilgamesh, the Sumerian Hero” help you better understand… How do heroes accomplish such amazing feats? Or what turns an ordinary man into a hero? Have you ever wondered if we are all a little bit of a hero? What do great cities like Uruk look like?

The Sumerians, like many people of the Bronze Age (starts about the mid 4th millennium BC to about 1000 BC the latest), had a very spirited oral tradition. There were no books at the time, available for people to enjoy reading and get their imagination run uncontrolled and wild. Storytellers played an important role, getting people excited with stories about the great Heroes, fantastic achievements, strict morals and ethics. Gilgamesh, the Sumerian Hero, never failed to dazzle the Sumerians and he dazzles us today!

Gilgamesh was, the story tells us, one of the kings of the Sumerian city of Uruk.  His name is on the list of kings of Sumer recovered from the library at Nineveh.  Did he exist as a real person or was he just made up by the Sumerians?  We may never know.  Like many other Heroes around the world, he was a part god and part human. He was also endowed with divine powers, a great sense of duty and ethics. Could we call Gilgamesh the first superhero?

Imagine… the unimaginable, and Gilgamesh did it. Along with his faithful friend Enkidu (friendship is always important for a Hero) they traveled the world fighting terrible monsters, rescuing people in need, moving mountains and rivers… in other words, protecting and saving the people of Sumer from any imaginable calamity. How do we know all these amazing facts? Clay tablets, preserved at the Library of ancient Nineveh and written in cuneiform writing, inform us with interesting details!

“Gilgamesh, the Sumerian Hero,” Educational Videos and Interesting PowerPoints

Introduction to Mesopotamia and the Epic story of Gilgamesh
Based on a 4000 year old story the Epic of Gilgamesh, this is an animated comic created by Sean Goodison for his degree project for his final year of studying computer graphic design.

http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/geography/story/sto_set.html

https://studylib.net/doc/5237467/gilgamesh—the-first-superhero-

For the PP on “Gilgamesh,” the “teachercurator” prepared… Click HERE!

“Gilgamesh, the Sumerian Hero” and Interesting Student Activities

For Information on Student Activities… Click HERE!

For Student Worksheets… Click HERE!

Heracles and the Lion of Nemea

My students love nothing more than a good Greek Myth like Heracles and the Lion of Nemea!!!

Myths are such fascinating stories. They were created at a time, so far away from our fast-paced, cosmopolitan, technologically savvy world, and yet, they are still relevant in helping shape modern thinking. Myths talk about duty, penance, responsibility, love, exploration, sacrifice, originality, imagination, creativity, effort,  humility, industry, curiosity, character, kindness, strength, success, resilience, arrogance, spirit ….

They can still advise us on the faults of political arrogance (Theseus and the Minautor), global warming (Phaethon and the Chariot of the Sun), the power of creativity (the Wings of Daedalus), penance not punishment (the Labours of Hercules), exploration (Jason and the Argonauts) …

For years now I have found myself relying on Greek Mythology like Heracles and the Lion of Nemea so as to enrich my curriculum. From Grade 1 to all Grades of High School, my students get a taste of these fascinating stories, “reading” them, in ways appropriate for their level.

As a result, students are 100% engaged, and teaching is so gratifying!

Use it to introduce ideas like Mythology, Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome, Art, Social Studies, Language Arts, Visual Arts

Heracles and the Lion of Nemea Lesson Plan Analysis

Essential Questions

Do ancient Greek myths help students a glimpse of what people thought in the past, what they considered important and how their morals worked?

Do ancient Greek myths contribute to the classic and modern understanding of life?

Goals

To help students connect the past with the present

Assist students learn about mythology from works of art

Enduring Understanding

Ancient Greek myths are narratives, formative or reflective, of social order or values.

Ancient Greek myths serve as a warning for people on how they should and should not be.

Steps to Success – Heracles and the Lion of Nemea

  1. The Power of Music

Start your Lesson with a song from the “Lion King”

The Lion King – Circle of LifeIntroduction to the Lesson – Heracles and the Lion of Nemea – No more than 2 minutes.

2. Review of the Essential Questions

Do ancient Greek myths give students a glimpse of how people thought in the past, what they considered important and how their morals worked?

Do ancient Greek myths contribute to the classic and modern understanding of life?

3. Visual Learning – “7 Roar…some Lion Facts”

Show students the PP “teachercurator” has prepared, discuss Lion Facts and thus prepare students for the Lion of Nemea story … Click HERE

4. The Power of Story-Telling – Get your students to your classrooms’ coziest area, then sit them down and tell them the story of Hercules and the Lion of Nemea. It is important for them to “feel” and “live” the Myth. So, my advice is not to read the myth, even from the finest book. Use your dramatic voice and “act” it out, captivating your students’ imagination.

5. Practice Visual Learning

6. Be Inquisitive

Discuss each picture – ask students the questions “teachercurator” prepared for you. For the PP in Hercules and the Lion of Nemea … Click HERE

For the QandA the “teachercurator” has prepared … Click HERE!

7. Review Enduring Understanding

Ancient Greek myths are narratives, formative or reflective, of social order or values.

Overall Ancient Greek myths serve as a warning to people on how they should and should not be.


Heracles and the Lion of Nemea Assessment Activities

This is what my Grade 1 students created for the Hercules and the Lion of Nemea Lesson. I downloaded and used an “Internet” free Lion mask, I cut different colored strips of paper, asked students to paint Lion’s face, glue the strips … and VOILA!

https://www.huggies.com.au/kids-activities/role-play/lion-mask

For a WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) Activity … Click HERE!

There are so many more amazing Activities on the Internet!!! … just explore what suits you and your students, best!