Monday, September 6, 2010

Persephone - 2010 Plate

My plate for 2010. Persephone. Un-glazed and un-fired as yet. It will be interesting to see what happens to the colours... I won't get to see it till the opening night!

My favourite character from Mythology is Persephone, Goddess of Spring, and later, Queen of the Underworld, consort to Hades.

A few variations of how it is that Hades, God of the Underworld fall in love with her exist, but my favourite is that Venus, Goddess of Love sees him and thinks that no-one should be free from her charms. She instructs her son Cupid to shoot one of his arrows into him.

Persephone then makes the mistake of frolicking in a field with some nymphs to pick flowers - this is actually a very dangerous passtime for Grecian girls, and is often the setting for disaster..... riding in his black chariot drawn by black horses, Hades bursts from the earth and upon spying her, falls utterly in love. He kidnaps her and returns to the Underworld with his captive.

Demeter, Goddess of the Earth (and agriculture) searches in vain for her daughter, but cannot find her. In giref she neglects her duties as a Goddess and the earth becomes barren. Finally she finds (again, each different version of the story has a different character here) a river nymph that tells her on her way through the centre of the Earth, she spotted Persephone in the Underworld.
Demeter pleads with Zeus and the Gods to give her daughter back, but they refuse. (It should mention here that Zeus, Demeter and Hades are brothers and sister. Zeus and Demeter are the parents of Persephone. Hades, as well as being her Uncle, also becomes Persephone's husband...... that's the Greek Gods for you!)

Furious and distraught, Demeter goes into hiding and wanders the earth as an old crone. No new life grows from the earth, the humans and animals begin to starve and die. Finally the Gods relent and call a council. They demand Hades return Persephone to her mother. When she comes up form the Underworld, Persephone is questioned whether she has accepted any food or drink whilst she was in Hades' realm - for doing so would mean she is to remain there forever.

Hades had in fact tricked her into eating 3 pomegranite seeds, so the Gods decide that for 3 months of the year she is to spend her time in the Underworld with Hades, and for the rest she can be reunited with her mother. Demeter brings life back to the Earth, but every year for 3 months whilst Persephone is with Hades, she lets things die, and these are the seasons. (In some versions she eats 6 seeds, so she spends Autumn and Winter in the Underworld, and Spring and Summer on the Earth).

I have depicted that fateful moment... I imagine she is looking up at Hades, the pomegranite clutched in her hand....

Marina Bychkova of Enchanted Dolls has just unveiled her latest doll, "Beauty" from the children's folk-tale Beauty and the Beast, and references how the tale depicts a case of Stockholm Syndrome. I couldn't help feel a like similarity to Persephone's story.


  1. This looks lovely! Is it fired yet?
    It seems to me you'll make a wonderful children's book illustrator.

  2. No, this is a shot of how I saw it last, in an un-fired state.

    I will only get to see it fired on the opening night, it's always a bit of a surprise... what happens to some of the colours ^_^


Oh! How did you know? I absolutely adore comments, thank you! :-) I appreciate all the feedback I get xx