Thursday, September 16, 2010

Myths and Legends: Penelope and the Suitors

Penelope and the Suitors. To find out more about Odysseus and his journey home, see this Wikipedia article: link; for information about the image: image source.

This beautiful fresco by Pinturicchio (housed now in the National Gallery in London), dated to 1509, shows Penelope weaving, besieged by suitors, as she awaits the return of her husband Odysseus. The painting is full of lovely details, like the "painting within a painting" in the background where you can see two of the adventures of Odysseus depicted there (on the left you can see the island of the sorceress Circe who turned Odysseus' men into pigs, and on the right you can see Odysseus listening to the song of the Sirens while strapped to the mast of his ship).

Meanwhile, you can see Odysseus just now entering the house, disguised as an old man, and I wonder if the lovely boy behind the door frame is meant to be Telemachus...? I guess so, as he is not dressed so gaudily as those suitors in the foreground!

Meanwhile, behind Penelope you can see Odysseus' bow, which Penelope has posed as a wedding test - and which will prove to be the suitors' doom when Odysseus reveals his identity! So while the painting is hardly Greek in appearance, it is full of details from the ancient Greek story. Lovely! I like the suitors all dressed up in their fancy clothes!

And... there is a cat!

You can also find more myths and legends for the week of September 16 - September 22 here. For more information and links to the actual javascript code, see the Myths & Legends Widget Reference Page.