Friday, December 18, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Jonathon Earl Bowser

Gates of Valhalla, 2009

Artwork © Jonathon Earl Bowser -

I recently discovered the work of Jonathon Earl Bowser, and am really happy that I did.  He has a wonderful website featuring his Goddess imagery, and it's all really stunning.  

Since today is Friday, and I blogged about Freya some weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to continue the theme and feature Mr. Bowser's Gates of Valhalla.  Along with his artwork, he writes accompanying articles about the myths and legends that inspire his work.  It's a great site, and worth seeing.  

Be sure to see the image of Isis.  Wow.  

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snowflakes and Soldiers

Original sketch for Act II of The Nutcracker, Konstantin Ivanov, 1892

We are all so bombarded with press surrounding the hundreds of productions of The Nutcracker that are performed at this time of year, I'm sure many turn a blind eye if they aren't interested; or, conversely, are so overwhelmed with it because it is a part of your life and you can't stand another rehearsal or sewing another costume right now - screw The feet are bleeding!

And yet, if the magic of The Nutcracker has ever touched someone, it takes hold and draws them back, year after year.  The story of the Nutcracker comes from a tale that was translated and then interpreted and then staged, and then interpreted and staged over and over again countless times, yet the story remains powerful in its ability to enchant (like all great mythos), set to the brilliance that is the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

I won't attempt in this posting to re-tell what has been told so well so many times, but the ballet is full of symbolism and allegory, and is well-worth a viewing in some form or another (it's on television now on a myriad of channels at all sorts of times).

So thank you, you nuts with the bleeding feet and needle-pricked fingers, you stagehands, and prop folk, and ushers.  You keep The Nutcracker's magic enduring, and so many of us need it now more than ever.

Original costume sketch for The Nutcracker, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, 1892

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

du jour: Consualia

It's interesting that there would be a festival to honor a grain deity this late in the Wheel of the Year, but on this day in Ancient Rome, citizens celebrated the festival of Consualia - a celebration of Consus, protector god of grains and subterranean storage silos.  His altar was near the Circus Maximus and kept just beneath the ground, and on this festival (and the companion celebration which occurred each August) it was unearthed.  In this aspect of Consus, his symbol was a corn seed.

Horses and mules were sacred to this deity, so on this day the animals were given a reprieve from  appointed chores and decorated with flowers and garlands; ironically, the main events of the festival were mule and horse races, which I'm sure was work for the four-legged contestant.

Consus' other aspects include him as god of councils (meetings) and Neptunus Equestris ("Equestrian Neptune"), both characteristics that link him to Poseidon of the Greek Pantheon.

This information is from the Wikipedia article.

Ritratto dell'ammiraglio Andrea Doria come Nettun
Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune
Angelo Bronzino (1503 - 1572)