Art is not a pastime but a priesthood. — Jean Cocteau
Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Peter Paul Rubens
vincent van gogh
wood block prints
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Bob Kessel has created an art series titled, “MYTHOLOGY”. It features pictures based on the works of famous artists throughout history like the picture “THE GOLDEN APPLE” originally by Peter Paul Rubens, shown above. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.
THE GOLDEN APPLE by Bob Kessel after Peter Paul Rubens
It is recounted that Zeus held a banquet in celebration of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles). However, Eris, goddess of discord, was uninvited. Angered by this snub, Eris arrived at the celebration, where she threw a golden apple (the Apple of Discord) into the proceedings, upon which was the inscription καλλίστῃ “for the fairest one”.
Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. They asked Zeus to judge which of them was fairest, and eventually Zeus, reluctant to favour any claim himself, declared that Paris, a Phrygian mortal, would judge their cases, for he had recently shown his exemplary fairness in a contest in which Ares in bull form had bested Paris’s own prize bull, and the shepherd-prince had unhesitatingly awarded the prize to the god.
Thus it happened that, with Hermes as their guide, all three of the candidates appeared to Paris on Mount Ida, in the climactic moment that is the crux of the tale. After bathing in the spring of Ida, each attempted with her powers to bribe Paris; Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia, Athena offered wisdom and skill in war, and Aphrodite, who had the Charites and the Horai to enhance her charms with flowers and song, offered the love of the world’s most beautiful woman. This was Helen of Sparta, wife of the Greek king Menelaus.
Paris accepted Aphrodite’s gift and awarded the apple to her, receiving Helen as well as the enmity of the Greeks and especially of Hera. The Greeks’ expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War.
Bob Kessel signing his print LEDA AND THE SWAN
LEDA AND THE SWAN by Bob Kessel
LEDA AND THE SWAN by Michelangelo
LEDA AND THE SWAN by Bob Kessel
In Greek mythology, Leda was daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius, and wife of the king Tyndareus, of Sparta. Her myth gave rise to the popular motif in Renaissance and later art of Leda and the Swan. She was the mother of Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux.
Leda was admired by Zeus, who seduced her in the guise of a swan. As a swan, Zeus fell into her arms for protection from a pursuing eagle. Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband Tyndareus, resulted in two eggs from which hatched Helen — later known as the beautiful “Helen of Troy” — Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux. Which children are the progeny of Tyndareus, the mortal king, and which are of Zeus, and are thus half-immortal, is not consistent among accounts, nor is which child hatched from which egg. The split is almost always half mortal, half divine, although the pairings do not always reflect the children’s heritage pairings. Castor and Polydeuces are sometimes both mortal, sometimes both divine. One consistent point is that if only one of them is immortal, it is Polydeuces.
NARCISSUS by Bob Kessel
ECHO by Bob Kessel
Narcissus or Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος), possibly derived from ναρκη (narke) meaning “sleep, numbness,” in Greek mythology was a hero from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. In the various stories he is exceptionally cruel, in that he disdains those who love him. As divine punishment he falls in love with a reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own, and perishes there, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.
In the tale told by Ovid, thought to have been based on Parthenius’ version but altered in order to broaden its appeal, Echo, a nymph, falls in love with a vain youth named Narcissus, who was the son of the blue Nymph Liriope of Thespia. The river god Cephisus had once encircled Liriope with the windings of his streams, and thus trapping her, had seduced the nymph, who gave birth to an exceptionally beautiful boy. Concerned about the welfare of such a beautiful child, Lirope consulted the prophet Tiresias regarding her son’s future. Tiresias told the nymph that Narcissus would live to a ripe old age, “if he didn’t come to know himself.”
One day when Narcissus was out hunting stags, Echo stealthily followed the handsome youth through the woods, longing to address him but unable to speak first. When Narcissus finally heard footsteps and shouted “Who’s there?”, Echo answered “Who’s there?” And so it went, until finally Echo showed herself and rushed to embrace the lovely youth. He pulled away from the nymph and vainly told her to leave him alone. Narcissus left Echo heartbroken and she spent the rest of her life in lonely glens, pining away for the love she never knew, until only her voice remained.
Nemesis heard this prayer and sent Narcissus his punishment. He came across a deep pool in a forest, from which he took a drink. As he did, he saw his reflection for the first time in his life and fell in love with the beautiful boy he was looking at, not realizing it was himself. Eventually, after pining away for a while, he realized that the image he saw in the pool was a reflection of himself. Realizing that he could not act upon this love, he tore at his dress and beat at his body, his life force draining out of him. As he died, the bodyless Echo came upon him and felt sorrow and pity. His soul was sent to “the darkest hell” and the narcissus flower grew where he died. It is said that Narcissus still keeps gazing on his image in the waters of the river Styx.
ECHO AND NARCISSUS ( side by side prints ) by Bob Kessel
RAPE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF LEUCIPPUS by Bob Kessel after Peter Paul Rubens
ODYSSEUS by Bob Kessel after Ingres
THREE GRACES by Bob Kessel after Botticelli
APHRODITE AND ADONIS by Bob Kessel after Vezellio Tiziano
BACCHUS by Bob Kessel after Poussin
ARTEMIS RESTING by Bob Kessel after Francois Bouchin
VULCAN’S FORGE by Bob Kessel after Jan van Kessel
NYMPHS by Bob Kessel after Bouguereau
PROSERPINA by Bob Kessel after Bernini
NYMPH AND SATYR by Bob Kessel apres Poussin
NYMPH AND SATYR by Nicolas Poussin
Bob Kessel has created an art series titled, “MYTHOLOGY”. It features pictures based on the works of famous artists throughout history like the picture “NYMPH AND SATYR” originally by Poussin, shown above. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.
Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century.
Initially, Poussin’s genius was recognized only by small circles of collectors. (In the two decades following his death, a particularly large collection of his works was amassed by Louis XIV.) At the same time, it was recognized that he had contributed a new theme of “classical severity” to French art.
Benjamin West, an American painter of the 18th century who worked in Britain, based his canvas of the death of General Wolfe at Quebec on Poussin’s example. As a result, the image is one in which each character gazes with appropriate seriousness on Wolfe’s death after securing British domination of North America.
Jacques-Louis David resurrected a style already known as “Poussinesque” during the French Revolution in part because the leaders of the Revolution looked to replace the frivolity and oppression of the court with Republican severity and civic-mindedness, most obvious in David’s dramatic canvas of Brutus receiving the bodies of his sons, sacrificed to his own principles, and the famous death of Marat.
Throughout the 19th century, Poussin, available to the ordinary person’s gaze because the Revolution had opened the collections of the Louvre, was inspirational for thoughtful and self-reflexive artists who pondered their own work methods, notably Cézanne, who strove to “recreate Poussin after nature”, and the Post-Impressionists. The less thoughtful enjoyed the eroticism of some of Poussin’s classicizing subjects.
In the twentieth century art critics have suggested that the “analytic Cubist” experiments of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were founded upon Poussin’s example.
The most famous 20th-century scholar of Poussin was the Englishman Anthony Blunt, Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures, who in 1979 was disgraced by revelations of his complicity with Soviet intelligence.
Today, Poussin’s paintings at the Louvre reside in a gallery dedicated to him.
DYING MINOTAUR by Bob Kessel
“DYING MINOTAUR” by Bob Kessel is available as a signed and numbered limited edition original fine art print. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.
“LEDA AND THE SWAN” by Bob Kessel is available as a signed and numbered limited edition original fine art print. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.