As an art lover, it's essential that you discover the seven impressive paintings featuring mythological creatures. This small collection of paintings boast some of the most beautiful and unique characters and creatures found in myth-based films and lore. Some you may have discovered through Art History 101, while others are more contemporary. Without further ado, let's explore the seven impressive paintings featuring mythological creatures.
1 “the Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed by the Sun” by William Blake
Among the paintings featuring mythological creatures is the Red Dragon. If you are familiar with the Thomas Harris film, you know this Blake painting was the inspiration behind the full body tattoo showcased by the serial killer in the film. This version of several paintings devoted to the dragon was inspired by two chapters within the Biblical Revelations. The story behind this painting is identified as the dragon or Satan making an attempt to steal Christ from Mary.
2 Medusa” by MICHELANGELO Caravaggio
Medusa is known throughout myth as the beautiful wife of Poseidon who broke her vows of celibacy to unite in marriage with the sea God. Her punishment was to be transformed into a gorgon; hideous with snakes as her hair. She would never be allowed to look upon the face of man without causing them to turn to stone. This painting was created as a gift for Ferdinando l de' Medici by the Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte.
3 “Perseus Frees Andromeda” by Piero Di Cosimo
In myth, you may also know that Andromeda was sentenced to death at the hands of the Kraken after her mother, Cassiopeia, boasted of her beauty in comparison to the Nereids. In the movie, Clash of the Titans, the story was changed slightly. However, this is the scene in which Perseus comes to her rescue by killing Cetus, the Kraken by using the head of Medusa to transform him into stone.
4 “Pegasus” by Jacob Jordaens
The extraordinarily beautiful Pegasus has become an ever popular fixture in myth and in the hearts of all little girls (thanks, Lisa Frank). This intriguing winged horse is depicted as a white stallion in this Jordaens' painting, as he was in the Clash of the Titans' films and more.
5 “Oedipus with the Sphinx” by Gustave Moreau
This Moreau painting depicts the story of the Oedipus' triumph over the sphinx in which he answers her riddle to save his life and the Thebans. Throughout this journey, there are the remains of all victims who have failed to accomplish this quest. With a great admiration for the Ingres painting completed in 1808, Moreau incorporated elements as a tribute to the artist.
6 "a Portrait of a Fairy" by Sophie Gengembre Anderson
It is ijn the intricate details of the Portrait that you see the beautiful women in this day and time. The artist incorporates fine details to the fairy, including the accents within each butterfly wing and the beading on her bag. Anderson also presents extraordinary color within the fairy's own wings without distracting from the tiny elements. Her face is refined in a more realistic manner than most impressionist's artistry at the time.
7 "a Mermaid" by John William Waterhouse
This Waterhouse mermaid provides intricate details in a more realistic way. Instead of extending the scales to cover her entire abdomen, he has allowed a more humanistic look to her body. He maintains her modesty with her beautiful long red hair. The artist adds elements to the work that make it more believable and less like most mermaid works in which they are diving or splashing through the water. I love the addition of the pearls in the bowl next to her as it provides an unique element and almost gives it a realistic Little Mermaid feel.
Mytholgical creatures and characters have been used as the inspiration of an immeasurable amount of artwork through the ages. Throughout art history, you can see significant changes in the way in which each is represented beautifully. What are some mythological creatures' paintings that you have loved over the years?