12 Contemporary Interpretations, Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, with footnotes

This post you are about to view contain some nude photographs.  If you are offended by nudity, if you are younger than 18 years of age, or if viewing nude images is not legal where you live, please go back.

Cesar Santos, (b. 1982)

Three Graces (aka the Charities)

Oil on linen

48 x 40 in

Private Collection 

In Greek mythology, a Charis or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces. The usual list, from youngest to oldest is Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”). In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae, the “Graces”. In some variants, Charis was one of the Graces and was not the singular form of their name.

The Charites were usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, though they were also said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios and the naiad Aegle. Other possible names of their mother by Zeus are Eurydome, Eurymedousa, and Euanthe. Homer wrote that they were part of the retinue of Aphrodite. The Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to them. More Three Graces (aka the Charities)

Cesar Santos (b. 1982), Cuban-American. Santos studied at Miami Dade College, where he earned his associate in arts degree in 2003. He then attended the New World School of the Arts before traveling to Florence, Italy. In 2006, he completed the Angel Academy of Art in Florence. Santos’ work reflects both classical and modern interpretations juxtaposed within one painting. His influences range from the Renaissance to the masters of the nineteenth century to Contemporary Art. He infuses a harmony between the natural and the conceptual to create works that are provocative and dramatic.

The artist has received numerous accolades, including first place in a Metropolitan Museum of Art competition, and he was presented with the 2013 Miami Dade College Hall of Fame Award in Visual Arts. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, including the Villa Bardini Museum in Florence and the National Gallery in Costa Rica. More Cesar Santos

Cesar Santos, (b. 1982)

Psyche and I 

Oil on linen

48 x 40 in

Private Collection

Cupid and Psyche is a story originally from Metamorphoses, written in the 2nd Century AD by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis. It concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche and Cupid, and their ultimate union in a sacred marriage. Although the only extended narrative from antiquity is that of Apuleius, Eros and Psyche appear in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC. The story’s Neoplatonic elements and allusions to mystery religions accommodate multiple interpretations, and it has been analyzed as an allegory and in light of folktale, Märchen or fairy tale, and myth. More Cupid and Psyche

Sylvie Malfray

Anais Pouliot as Athena Pallas

Athena, often given the epithet Pallas, is the goddess of wisdom, craft, and war in ancient Greek religion and mythology. Athena is known for her calm temperament, as she moves slowly to anger. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons, and would not fight without a purpose.

Athena is portrayed as an astute companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.

Veneration of Athena was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. In her role as a protector of the city, many people throughout the Greek world worshipped Athena as Athena Polias, “Athena of the city”. While the city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name, it is not known which of the two words is derived from the other. More Athena

Based in Paris, France, Sylvie Malfray is a professional beauty and fashion photographer. Published in both ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar on several occasions.

Anais Pouliot (born May 7, 1991) is a Canadian model. Born in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Pouliot now lives in New York City

Alexey Kondakov

The Urban Renaissance New Classical Paintings in Modern Life

Alexey Kondakov , director of Ukrainian art, has devised collages in the Kiev subway populated by mythological gods extracted from famous paintings of the modern age. Through these hypothetical compositions we can observe the daily life of nymphs, gods and goddesses More Alexey Kondakov

Alexey Kondakov

The Urban Renaissance New Classical Paintings in Modern Life

EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952) 

Aphrodite, Circa 1920

Blue-toned silver print,

10 3/4×13 5/8 inches (27.3×34.6 cm.)

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. More Venus

Edward Sheriff Curtis (February 16, 1868 – October 19, 1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American peoples. 

Curtis was born on February 16, 1868, on a farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin. His father, the Reverend Asahel “Johnson” Curtis (1840–1887), was a minister, farmer, and American Civil War veteran. In 1887 the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where he purchased a new camera and established a new studio, Curtis and Guptill, Photographers and Photoengravers.

In 1906, J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on Native Americans. This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Around 1922, Curtis moved to Los Angeles and opened a new photo studio. To earn money he worked as an assistant cameraman for Cecil B. DeMille and was an uncredited assistant cameraman in the 1923 filming of The Ten Commandments. On October 19, 1952, at the age of 84. More Edward Sheriff Curtis


The Seduction of Io, 2016

Lenticular Photograph

39 2/5 × 39 2/5 in

100 × 100 cm

Drawing on his studies in fine art holography, Jeff Robb creates lenticular photographs as a means of experimenting with three-dimensional images. His holographic works are portals that transport the viewer into other worlds, which appear to have their own dimensions and physical properties. His women are alien- and wraith-like, and they appear to undergo a metamorphosis as the lenticular photograph’s illusion is revealed. More The Seduction of Io

Jeff Robb graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1992 with a Masters degree in Fine Art Holography. Shortly after graduating, he was invited to submit a landscape work in to the V&A museum’s permanent collection. Robb’s work now features in museums and private collections around the world.

Robb is currently best known for his lenticular photographic work focusing on the female nude and abstract forms in space, which he makes in series. The artist has recently begun to produce bronze sculptures working with the female nude, using cutting edge modelling technology combined with historic casting techniques.

Jeff Robb now works in a variety of media including lenticular photography, painting, bronze and silver cast sculpture, reflection and transmission holography, photography, film, laser light and sound installations. More Jeff Robb

Ishkandar Raskolnick, Alexandria, Cornish – Egypt

When Circe Met Sappho

Circe, the dread goddess, the grand-daughter of celestial Ocean, is the Lady of the isle of Aiaia, a piece of land lost in the mists of the Mediterranean Sea. The position of the island is not noted in any nautical map.

Those unfortunate crews of vessels sailing by the island that out of curiosity or need decide to go ashore for food, water or other quests, meet the fabulous mistress and charmed by her beauty, drink the potions she offers as refreshment. As Circe’s vile substances take effect, the once valiant men begin to change shape and soon are fully transformed into lions, if they once were brave and handsome, into wolves, if they were lonely and hideous, or, in the most of the cases, into swine, because humans and pigs are so much akin. Lions and wolves are free to wander into the deep forests and the rough mountains of Aiaia, but heartless Circe herds the swine into uncomfortable dirty pens. More Circe

Ishkandar Raskolnick, I’m also known as “Ishkandar”, which in Arabic stands for Alexandros, my given name. I am temporarily living and working in Alexandria, Egypt but I shall move sometime soon again and before that I was in Doha, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, UAE and before that in Bucharest, Romania and before that in Prague, Česká and before that in Moscow, Russia and I am originally Serbo-Croatian, born in Khania, Crete,Greece. More Ishkandar Raskolnick


Joel-Peter Witkin

Centaur (?)

A centaur  is a mythological creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse.

The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apolloand Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. More Centaur

Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939) is an American photographer. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses, and various outsiders such as dwarves, transsexuals, intersex persons, and physically deformed people. Witkin’s complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or classical paintings.

Witkin’s parents divorced when he was young. In 1961 Witkin enlisted in the United States Army with the intention of capturing war photography during the Vietnam war. However, Witkin never saw combat in Vietnam and spent his military time at Fort Hood, Texas, and was mostly in charge of Public Information and classified photos. In 1967, he became the official photographer for City Walls Inc. He attended Cooper Union in New York, where he studied sculpture, attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. Columbia University granted him a scholarship for graduate school, but his Master of Fine Arts degree is from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque  More Joel-Peter Witkin

Ren Hang


Leda, in Greek legend, usually believed to be the daughter of Thestius, king of Aetolia, and wife of Tyndareus, king of Lacedaemon. She was also believed to have been the mother (by Zeus, who had approached and seduced her in the form of a swan) of the other twin, Pollux, and of Helen, both of whom hatched from eggs. Variant legends gave divine parentage to both the twins and possibly also to Clytemnestra, with all three of them having hatched from the eggs of Leda, while yet other legends say that Leda bore the twins to her mortal husband, Tyndareus. Still other variants say that Leda may have hatched out Helen from an egg laid by the goddess Nemesis, who was similarly approached by Zeus in the form of a swan.The divine swan’s encounter with Leda was a subject depicted by both ancient Greek and Italian Renaissance artists; Leonardo da Vinci undertook a painting (now lost) of the theme, and Correggio’s Leda (c. 1530s) is a well-known treatment of the subject. More

Ren Hang ( March 30, 1987 – February 24, 2017) was a Chinese photographer. He was born in 1987, in a suburb of Changchun, in northeastern China.

During Hang’s incipient career, he was known mostly for nude photographic portraits of his friends. Hang’s work is significant for its representation of Chinese sexuality within a heavily censored society. His works tend to include erotic undertones which led to his arrest several times by PRC authorities. His art trajectory was backed by the famed contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, who included Hang in his 2013 Netherlands show, “Fuck Off 2 The Sequel”, and curated the photographer’s 2014 exhibition in ParisFrance.

Hang was known to suffer from depression. On February 24, 2017, official reports state that he took his own life in BeijingChina. More Ren Hang

Ralph Gibson

Leda, série Days at sea

Ralph Gibson (born January 16, 1939) is an American art photographer best known for his photographic books. His images often incorporate fragments with erotic and mysterious undertones. Gibson enlisted in the United States Navy in 1956 and became a Photographers Mate studying photography until 1960. Gibson then continued his photography studies at the San Francisco Art Institute between 1960 – 1962. He began his professional career as an assistant to Dorothea Lange from 1961 to 1962 and went on to work with Robert Frank on two films.

Gibson has maintained a lifelong fascination with books and book-making. Since the appearance in 1970 of THE SOMNAMBULIST, his work has been steadily impelled towards the printed page. In 1969 Gibson moved to New York, where he formed Lustrum Press in order to exert control over the reproduction of his work. To date he has produced over 40 monographs, current projects being State of the Axe published by Yale University Press in Fall of 2008 and NUDE by Taschen (2009). His photographs are included in over one hundred and fifty museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions. More Ralph Gibson

Amanda Kirkhuff

 “Cupid” (2013)

Oil on canvas

60 x 48 inches

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, and is known in Latin also as Amor (. His Greek counterpart is Eros.

Although Eros is in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid’s arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love. 

Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine’s Day. More

Amanda Jebrón Kirkhuff was born in Seattle, Washington in 1982. She attended Seattle Central Community College where she was trained in oil paint and figure drawing, and ultimately assisted in earning a scholarship to attend The San Francisco Art Institute. Kirkhuff graduated with a BFA from SFAI in 2006. Kirkhuff lived in San Francisco for nine years, participating in underground queer nightlife and activism. She worked with many civil rights and social change organizations, and her working-class background, community and values continue to inform her work. More Amanda Jebrón Kirkhuff 

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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