Thursday, January 30, 2020

Perseus


"Perseus" will exhibit at Roby King Gallery, Bainbridge Island WA, Feb 7- March 1, 2020 in "A Trio of Print-makers" with work by Lynn Brofsky, Brian Fisher & Steve McFarlane.  The opening Reception is Feb 7, 6-8 pm. Check it Out!


Perseus is the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty. His mother Danae was the daughter of Acrisius, the King of Argos. King Acrisius locked Danae in a room without windows or doors, open only to the heavens, to prevent her ever having suitors or a child after the Oracle at Delphi foretold his own death by Danae's son.  Zeus however saw and fell in love with Danae and visited her from above as a shower of gold and so Perseus was conceived and born.

King Acrisius, now the grandfather of a demi-god, attempted one more time to thwart the prophecy.  He locked Danae and the infant Perseus in a wooden chest and cast them into the Aegean Sea.  Eventually, they washed up and were found by Diktys, a fisherman, on the island of Seriphos.  Diktys helped raise Perseuus and he eventually became a young man with great physical strength and courage.

Seriphos is a small island where one man might be a fisherman and his brother a King, so that is how the King Polydectes came to know and desire Danae.  When Perseus, believing Polydectes' intentions less than honorable, tried to protect Danae from him, the King contrived a challenge that sent Perseus on a quest to kill the Gorgon Medusa.  

Perseus, after consulting with his Father Zeus's side of the family, visited the sisters of Medusa known as the Graiai.  This part of the story is so rich that someday I want to make a series just of the Graiai who are ancient women that share one tooth and one eye between them.  Perseus steals the eye but returns it in exchange for information on how to find and defeat Medusa.  They explain what magical tools he will need, where to find them and where to find Medusa who lived in a cave at the ends of the earth.  

His tools were a helm of invisibility (when he wore it) as well as winged sandals to enable him to fly, an adamantine sword, a reflective sheild and the kibisis, a special bag that he used to carry the head of Medusa. 

Medusas' is a unique and ancient story within this story.  She had been cursed and made hideous by Athena for her unfortunate choice of partners, (Poseidon) and place, (Athena's Temple) to consummate their relationship.  Afterwards she was perceived as a monster with snakes for hair and "ugly" enough to turn anyone who saw her to stone.  

Flying to her lair, at the ends of the earth, invisible Perseus found Medusa sleeping.  Using only her reflection in his polished shield, he safely approached and cut off her head.  From her neck sprang Pegasus and Chrysaor her children by Poseidon.

Perseus now possessed a powerful weapon, the head of Medusa, and using it to his advantage, he slays a dragon, picks up a wife, (Andromeda), and a kingdom on his way back to Seriphos where the conquering hero uses the Gorgon's head to petrify King Polydectes and save Danae from the king's Trumpian advances.

The inevitable fulfillment of the Delphic oracle, which Perseus's grandfather was so determined to avoid, came when King Acrisius was in Thessaly attending the funeral games of the King of Larissa and a discus thrown amiss killed the visiting guest.  Perseus threw the discus and the oracle was fulfilled.

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