Preparations for the Greek Mythic Dreamer

Ceiling paintings

I am beginning to plot out a diagram that is rapidly becoming preposterously complicated. As it outlines the Greek’s mythic view of the world, I suppose that is not surprising.

Using a combination of sources including Ovid, to whom this painting is dedicated, Stephen Fry, Robert Graves, Homer and a life time of fascination with all things Greek, I am trying to assemble an image that reflects the mass of interwoven stories from antique origins that pictures some part of the mythic world of those brilliant people.

We find a world story, pieced together from many threads, containing a cornucopia (another Greek invention) of Titans, Gods, Elemental forces, Naiads, Dryads, Furies, Muses, Powers of night, darkness, doom, hubris and so on. I have come across the Hekatonkheires for the first time, so ugly to Ouranos that he thrust them back into Gaia’s womb. As I listen to the stories I have been scribbling on the board that may or may not end up being the painted surface.

Once again the painting is turning into a research document.

So we have the sleeping figure of Ovid at the top of the inner rectangle (I have begun by following the pattern of the earlier two panels, with 8×4 inner panel, and outer framing panels. I see him asleep in his lonely exile¬†overlooking the wastes of the black sea on the northern borders the empire. Around him are the stories of the titans and the gods that he wove into his Metamorphosis.

Below in the lower part of the painting there is another dreamer. Homer sleeps the dream of the Trojan wars, of the Illiad and the Oddesey, and the world of man is linked to the Gods.

There must be reference to the city state, the polis, the development of the academies of philosophy, the mystical dionysian and orphic sects and the many connections that link this extraordinary flowering of culture to ancient lineages and the following military might of Rome.

I ask myself as I begin this picture what the mythic and spiritual world was like for a Greek.