WTF Art History

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

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  1. An Homeric Sea Monster & Starbucks

    Greek (Early Hellenistic), Scylla, about 300-275 B.C., silver with gilding.  Getty Villa, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles  Greek (Early Hellenistic), Scylla, about 300-275 B.C., silver with gilding.  Getty Villa, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

    Meet Scylla, a sea monster from Classical mythology.  She lived on cliffs between southern Italy and Sicily waiting to devour approaching sailors with her fish tails that end in dog heads (thus her name in Greek means “puppy”).  As I mentioned a while back in an entry, I love the new Starbucks logo and I’m always looking for works of art that remind me of that smiling siren/mermaid creature (even if a spokesperson for the company cites a 17th-century Norse prints as inspiring the logo…).  And so as I’m enjoying my morning cup of Tazo Awake black tea, I’ll be thinking of this nightmarish monster.

    The creature Scylla makes an appearance in Homer’s Odyssey but is sadly absent from the Sassy Gay Friend version from the Second City Network (check it out, it’s still LOL funny).  In the Odyssey, Odysseus lost six of his crew to the beast and was helpless to save them.

    And just for fun, here’s another image of Scylla, also from the Getty.  Enjoy and be sure to look for connections to art throughout your daily activities, even going to Starbucks!

    Nicolas Poussin, Scylla and a Centaur, about 1645, pen and brown ink with later red chalk.  Getty Center, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los AngelesNicolas Poussin, Scylla and a Centaur, about 1645, pen and brown ink with later red chalk.  Getty Center, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

     
     
    1. wtfarthistory posted this