These images are of a recent sculpture that I have been developing. The working title is ‘Playful’ and it is of an infant Hercules. A baby plays with a small lizard, a ‘Gecco,’ to be exact and dangles it from his fingers by the poor creature’s tail. The lizard has not been included yet.
The infant Hercules, a product of Zeus’s infidelity, incurred the wrath of Hera. She sent venomous snakes to the baby’s crib and Hercules killed them. Examples of this theme in Greek art date back at least to the Hellenistic period.
Within the Christian era, the hero’s journey has been identified with that of Jesus. The interesting phenomenon of the intermixing of antique and christian iconography during the 17th century led to images of baby Jesus slaying the serpent.
Both of these traditions portray this theme with a predetermined moral stance and definitive outcome. ‘Playful’ attempts to go beyond these precepts and express the natural impetus of the action. It is playful. Curiosity leads us to explore the world and through experience discover a moral truth.
I modelled a gecco in terracotta and will post a photo of the complete sculpture a bit later. On a technical note: there is a some distortion in the photos. The arm reads big in several of the shots. Still working on perfecting the photography skills.