The Mythology Suite is considered...
…to be among the most important of Dali’s print portfolios. For this, his first suite of etchings for Argillet, Dali chose key figures and climactic moments from Greek and Roman Myth. Although the imposing and beautiful Argus is often first-noticed, several other images are its equal in bravura draftsmanship. And all are unique reimaginings of subjects continually depicted throughout Western art history. In particular, note the quality and complexity of line in Leda and the Swan, and the Birth of Venus. In Oedipus and the Sphinx Dali remembering that the Greek version of the creature has not a man’s but a woman’s face, created a, slightly ribald, but still ominous questioner; nearly skeletal; no larger than Oedipus; [infopopup:chris]but threatening none the less. As well, Dali’s Medusa though frightening, seems frightened, or perhaps absent of hope; and, this work, in its pathos, is one of the two most emotive in the set. The other, Leda’s rape by Zeus disguised as a Swan. As has so often been the case, in depictions of this moment in art across the centuries, the interpretation – violent attack or grand, shared passion – has been left ambiguous. Dali has, to an extent, done this as well, by wrapping the figures in a soft, beautiful oval. Dali used spontaneous creative methods in several of these works; including bombarding etching plates with explosives filled with small bits of hardware. In a wonderfully Dalinian touch, the artist began his Medusa, with a method perhaps unique in etching history: creating the shape of the Gorgon by impressing a small dead octopus into the waxy resist of the etching plate. This spontaneous method-making was grounded in the Surrealist idea of “Hasard Objectif”(the meaningful manifestation of chance.) This is particularly noticeable in “Medusa” and in: “OEdipus and Sphinx”, “Theseus and Minotaurus”, “Jupiter”, “Pegasus”, and “The Milky Way”.
Documentation & Edition Details
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