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Badass Queens from Classical History.ppsx

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Badass Queens from Classical History.ppsx

  1. 1. fantastic, powerful, just too risqué …
  2. 2. Badass Queens from Classical History
  3. 3. Biblical Queen: Queen of Sheba One of the few Queens who appears in the Bible. But this fine lady was fairly anodyne. Her story focuses on her travels to Jerusalem. She arrived “with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones” (I Kings 10:2). When she did arrive, she mistook Solomon's royal palace glass floor for water, and lifted her dress, revealing her hairy legs, for which King Solomon reprimanded her. (This is 2000 years before hair removal creams and seems a bit rude when she has just gifted him a huge pile of gold and spices.) She asked him three questions to test his wisdom, and returned home.
  4. 4. The Queen of Sheba embarking on her journey to see King Solomon in Jerusalem. Crowned and dressed in red, the Queen descends the steps. In the Bible, she travels across the desert by camel, but Claude sends her by sea. Claude Lorrain The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba L'Embarquement de la reine de Saba 1648 National Gallery, London
  5. 5. Two episodes are shown in the same fresco, separated from each other by the column of the royal palace: the Procession of the Queen of Sheba Meeting between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon Procession of the Queen of Sheba: According to the legend, the tree grown from Adam's grave stood and into the time of Solomon, who had it cut. His workers laid the hewn log across a stream to serve as a bridge. As the Queen of Sheba passed by on her visit to the Solomon, she came to the bridge and foresaw that one day the world's savior would hang from this beam. She therefore refused to step on it, and instead knelt before it in veneration. Meeting between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon: a temple-like structure, Solomon stands with his courtiers, the queen, deferentially bows to him. Piero della Francesca Adoration of the Holy Wood and the Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba L'Adoration du bois de la vraie croix et rencontre de Salomon et de la reine de Saba 1452 San Francesco, Arezzo
  6. 6. Mythological queen: Helen of Troy She has been depicted in art since the 7th century BCE. Abduction and seduction are always in fashion. A ravishing beauty known as “the face that launched a thousand ships.” Though most of the time she's called Helen of Troy, she was actually from the Greek city of Sparta and was the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Leda, the wife of Tyndareas, King of Sparta. Since Zeus seduced Leda while in the form of a swan, it's said that Helen hatched out of an egg. "of Troy" ...That started after she was taken away from Sparta by Paris, a handsome Trojan prince. Just one problem: she was already married to a guy named Menelaus, who didn't take too kindly to his wife's Trojan fling. To answer the insult, Menelaus gathered the biggest army of Greeks ever assembled, sailed across the sea to Troy, and ignited the legendary Trojan War.
  7. 7. Oh, that Trojan really was a charmer ... The couple pose in front of their bed with its rumpled sheets. He is naked and playing his lyre, his cheeks flushed. She wears diaphanous clothing which has slipped off her right shoulder, and her cheeks are distinctly flushed too. Watching over them is a small statue of Venus. Jacques-Louis David The Love of Helen and Paris Les amours de Pâris et d'Hélène 1788 Louvre, Paris
  8. 8. Really, how could someone depict me with such a nasty look on my face? Frederick Sandys Helen of Troy Hélène de Troie 1867 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
  9. 9. Helen of Troy admires herself in a mirror, the back of which bears the image of Venus. Around her are white and red roses for love, and five white doves, two of which are ‘courting’. In the distance are the lofty towers of the fortified city of Troy. Evelyn De Morgan Helen of Troy Hélène de Troie 1898 The De Morgan Foundation, Wandsworth Museum, Compton, Guildford
  10. 10. Born out of an egg: Clytemnestra The two sisters, Helen and Clytemnestra had very interesting origins. Their Father was Zeus who disguised himself as a swan in order to seduce their mother Leda. Being fathered by a swan, they were born out of an egg. Clytemnestra’s rebellion was triggered most horribly, when Agamemnon sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia, and planning revenge, she took a lover whilst her husband was away at Troy. When Agamemnon returned, the two of them, the Queen and her lover, murdered him.
  11. 11. Zeus in the form of a swan, Leda and the result of their union: the newly hatched twins, Helen and Clytemnestra and their brothers Castor and Pollux. Leonardo da Vinci, follower of, suiveur de Leda and the Swan Léda et le cygne early 16th century Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
  12. 12. A dramatic image ... the queen Clytemnestra with blood-spattered garments, moments after the murder John Collier Clytemnestra after the murder Clytemnestre après le meurtre 1882 Guildhall Art Gallery, London
  13. 13. I don't know what I was thinking … Guérin’s Clytemnestra hesitates before killing the sleeping Agamemnon. (Aegisthus, leaning behind her back, seems to be pushing her.) Pierre-Narcisse Guérin Clytemnestre hésite avant de frapper Agamemnon endormi. Égisthe, son complice, la pousse Clytemnestra hesitates before killing the sleeping Agamemnon 1817 Musée du Louvre, Paris
  14. 14. Revenge in the family: Electra Electra was the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Obsessed with revenge against her mother for the murder of her father, Electra is totally unforgiving of Clytemnestra and is hell-bent on getting revenge. Electra has only lived for the moment of revenge, and once it is achieved, it has no reason to exist.
  15. 15. Electra in funeral black … Frederic Leighton Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon Électre sur la tombe d'Agamemnon 1869 Collection privée
  16. 16. Orestes returns home at the urging of his sister Electra and the god Apollo. Do they want a nice happy family reunion? Not so much. Electra and Apollo want Orestes to kill his mom Clytemnestra, for killing his dad, Agamemnon. Jean Baptiste Joseph Wicar Electra Receiving the Ashes of her Brother, Orestes Électre recevant les cendres d'Oreste 1826-1827 Worcester Art Museum, Worcester
  17. 17. Mythological murder: Hecuba Hecuba is fascinating character: Queen of Troy, wife to Priam, mother to Hector, Cassandra, and Achilles (and some 15 other children besides). After Troy’s fall when her youngest son is murdered by King Polymnestor, blinds the murdering king The gods turn her into a mad dog.
  18. 18. With the elegance and precision of an angel of wrath ... three figures, emerging from the shadows, Hecuba with outstretched hands, Polymnestor with a clenched fist, and a woman who is restraining him. ... The mother as the executor of a just punishment. During the Trojan war Hecuba had sent her youngest son, together with a large fortune, to safety with Polymnestor, her son-in-law and King of Thrace. Polymnestor, however, abused Hecuba's trust in a dreadful manner, murdering the defenseless child he was supposed to protect. Hecuba doesn’t kill Polymnestor but makes sure that, just before losing his sight, he witnesses the murder of his own sons. Guiseppi Maria Crespi, dit Lo Spagnolo Hécube aveuglant Polymnestor Hecuba Blinds Polymestor 1700-1705 Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels
  19. 19. Cassandra’s curse A princess of Troy, and yeah, she was really pretty, some say she was the second most beautiful woman in the world next to Helen. But despite all these good things, poor Cassandra was horribly cursed. She was able to see the future, but no one would ever believe any of her predictions. Why? Well, Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy because he was sweet on her. But then, when she wouldn't go all the way with him, he cursed her to never be believed. During the Trojan War she tried and tried to steer her city from the catastrophe she saw coming, but everybody just thought she was completely insane. After the fall of Troy, Cassandra hides in the temple, clinging to a statue of Athena. But she is found and raped by a warrior called Ajax the Lesser. Not long after Ajax had his way with her, Cassandra was claimed as a love slave and taken to Greece by Agamemnon.
  20. 20. Cassandra clings to the Xoanon, while Ajax the Lesser is about to drag her away in front of her father Priam - Ajax in Troy drags Cassandra from Palladium before eyes of Priam Ajax à Troy traîne Cassandra de Palladium sous les yeux de Priam - Fresque romaine de l'atrium de la Maison de Ménandre à Pompéi Roman fresco from the atrium of the House of Menander, Pompeii
  21. 21. Cassandra in front of the burning city of Troy, depicted with disheveled hair denoting the insanity ascribed to her by the Trojans Evelyn De Morgan Cassandra Cassandre 1898 De Morgan Collection
  22. 22. Widowed Queen of Carthage: Dido As a post script to the end of the Trojan war we have Dido, Queen of Carthage. Aeneas, son of a Trojan prince and the goddess Aphrodite, escapes the sacking of Troy and is on his way across the Mediterranean to form the city Rome at the Olympian God’s behest. Aeneas sails into Carthage and Dido falls for him. They have a torrid affair but when he leaves to follow his destiny she completely falls to pieces and makes a funeral pyre of his belongings and throws herself onto it..
  23. 23. Dido with the sword by Aeneas, lies dying pointing at his ship leaving harbour by the light of the early dawn. Resting her hand on Dido’s chest wound, her sister Anna comforts the queen in her dying moments. Joseph Stallaert Death of Dido La Mort de Didon 1872 Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
  24. 24. Dido and Aeneas' sword covered with her blood and history moves to the founding of Rome … Henry Fuseli Dido Didon 1781 Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
  25. 25. Queen Consort of Thebes: Jocasta She was married to King Laius. However, the oracle predicted his murder by his own son. When Jocasta gave birth to a son, the baby was taken from her and given to a shepherd to leave on a mountain to die. ... some sixteen years later Laius and Oedipus meet as strangers on the road and, in a fight, Oedipus kills Laius and then carries on to Thebes where he marries Queen Jocasta. When the city was struck by a plague (a punishment for Oedipus' unwitting crimes), Oedipus eventually learned of his patricide and incest. When Jocasta realises the truth, that she has married her son, she hangs herself in horror. Oedipus gouges out his eyes.
  26. 26. Beginning to suspect, Jocasta begged Oedipus to stop his relentless quest. Alexandre Cabanel Oedipus Separating from Jocasta Œdipe se séparant de Jocaste 1843 Musee Comtadin Duplessis, Carpentras
  27. 27. True Drama: Antigone Name Antigone, Current city Elysium, Occupation Heroine, Princess of Thebes, Rebel Parents Oedipus, my Dad, who was also my half-brother, yeah Jocasta, my Mom, who was also my grandma, again, it's a long story Creon, my uncle and great uncle, who buried me alive when I insisted on burying my brother But the drama does not end there. Jocasta’s two sons fight and kill each other, Creon takes the throne and decrees that one prince shall have proper funeral rites but the other shall remain unburied. Sacrilege in any religion, Jocasta’s daughter, Antigone, defies the king, and buries her brother, choosing divine law over civil law. Creon orders Antigone to be buried alive in a tomb. He then has a change of heart (so unlike a politician) and tries to release her but finds that, she has hanged herself. Creon’s son Haemon, who was in love with Antigone, commits suicide by knife. Then, his mother Queen Euridyce also kills herself in despair over her son’s death. (A family was badly in need of some relationship therapy.)
  28. 28. greeted by carrion crows ... Antigone buried Polyneices, even though it meant her death. Marie Spartali Stillman Antigone Giving Burial Rites to the Body of Her Brother Polynices or Antigone Giving Burial Rites to Polynices Antigone enterrant Polynice ou Antigone recouvrant le corps de Polynice 1871 Simon Carter Gallery, Woodbridge, Suffolk
  29. 29. A mythological demoness: Lamia Queen Lamia. Very beautiful, desired, and seduced by Zeus. But Hera (aka Mrs. Zeus) is furious and forces Lamia to eat the children she had mothered with Zeus. From then on she becomes a phantom and a daemon, seduces handsome young men and then devours their flesh.
  30. 30. A magical embrace between a woman with the tail of a serpent and a young knight … The man is entwined not only with the woman's tail but in brambles. In the background rabbits dash away from the scene. Isobel Lilian Gloag The Knight and the Mermaid or The Kiss of the Enchantress Le Chevalier et la Sirène ou Le Baiser de l'Enchanteresse 1890 Private collection
  31. 31. a classic femme fatale ... a young man and the snakeskin, which gives us the only subtle hint of what is to come (Was inspired by Keats' celebrated poem of 1820, about a bridegroom who discovers on his wedding night that his bride is a monstrous half-serpent who preys on young men.) John William Waterhouse Lamia 1905 Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland
  32. 32. o.esqsegues@gmail.com Badass Queens from Classical History Bouleversantes Reines extraordinaires de l'histoire classique images and text credit www. Music The Piano Guys My Girl created olga.e. thanks for watching