Huge Pictures of the Olympian Gods

Mr Deacon painted huge pictures of the Olympian gods but shunned the “female form divine,” [TKO 83/ 80]

In A Buyer’s Market, Jenkins introduced Mr. Deacon and told us much about his art and his antecedents (for examples, see our posts, Mr. Deacon’s Pre-Raphaelite InfluencesMr. Deacon at Auction, and Sketch of Antinous, among others). For this reprise of his work, we are imagining a synthesis of works of his two heroes, Puvis de Chavannes and Simeon Solomon.

The Sacred Wood Cherished by the Arts and the Muses Puvis de Chavannes, 1884-1889 oil on canvas, 36 x 91 in. The Art Institute of Chicago photo in public domain from Wikiart.org

The Sacred Wood Cherished by the Arts and the Muses
Puvis de Chavannes, 1884-1889
oil on canvas, 36 x 91 in.
The Art Institute of Chicago
photo in public domain from Wikiart.org

The size of Mr. Deacon’s painting might be like Puvis de Chavannes’ mural shown above. The original version, part of a series of murals for the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, is more than 15 feet high by 34 feet long; we show a reduced rendition that is now at the Art Institute of Chicago, three feet high and seven and a half feet wide. (See our post The Boyhood of Cyrus for the story of Toulouse-Lautrec’s parody of this painting.)

Bacchus Simeon Solomon, 1868 oil on canvas photo from Artmagick.com

Bacchus
Simeon Solomon, 1868
watercolor on paper, 20 x 15 in private collection photo from Artmagick.com

For the all male cast, we would use images by Simeon Solomon, who did not limit himself to male figures, but who was frank about his homosexuality, for which he suffered. He painted three versions of the god of wine known as Bacchus to the Romans and Dionysus to the Greeks.  We show this version with its homoerotic connotation.  The staff in his right hand is a thrysus, with a shaft of fennel topped with a pine cone, a symbol classically associated with Dionysius, signifying phallic hedonism.

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