In this painting from my series Legacies of Olympus in which I reimagine classical mythology with in a contemporary perspective, I took as a starting point the myth of Prometheus a god who helped Zeus defeat the titans, but then betrayed him and sided with the human population by stealing Fire and delivering it to Man. His punishment for this crime was to be chained to a rock in the “Caucasus, Kazbek Mountain” of all places, where his liver is eaten daily by an eagle, only to grow back by night, due to his immortality. Zeus obliviously had a zero tolerance for theft!.
The aspect of the myth that I’m drawn too is the giving to humanity of this special gift Fire, the first tool, and the foundation of technology and civilisation. It allowed humanity to begin controlling and reshaping its environment from smelting metals to cooking and both literally and metaphorically illuminate the darkness. Perhaps allowing the first peoples to dwell in caves exchanging stories, painting its walls with the mysteries of their world – acquiring knowledge and passing it on.
“Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.” Freeman Dyson
My Painting portrays two hikers investigating two great stone slabs jutting out of the mountain top (inspired by the Derryclare Horseshoe, Connemara) and reading the chemical equation Prometheus is inscribing on to the rock face. I echo the myth with the use of the rock, in which Prometheus is helping to free Mankind from the rule of the gods and upon which he will be imprisoned by rule of a god Zeus, who is here symbolised in his traditional form as an Eagle, which incidentally plays a part in his Punishment. The First hiker uses fire to help light want is written so that he may see.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”. William Butler Yeats