Jose Garcia Ocejo (b.1928)
The Minotaur and the Maiden, c. 2015
Oil on wood
64 x 52 cm / 25.1 x 20.4 inches
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur is a mythical creature portrayed in Classical times with the head of a bull and the body of a man, or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, a being “part man and part bull”. The Minotaur dwelt at the center of the Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
After he ascended the throne of the island of Crete, Minos competed with his brothers to rule. Minos prayed to Poseidon, the sea god, to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign of support (the Cretan Bull). He was to kill the bull to show honor to the deity, but decided to keep it instead because of its beauty. He thought Poseidon would not care if he kept the white bull and sacrificed one of his own. To punish Minos, Poseidon made Pasiphaë, Minos’s wife, fall deeply in love with the bull. Pasiphaë had craftsman Daedalus make a hollow wooden cow, and climbed inside it in order to mate with the white bull. The offspring was the monstrous Minotaur. Pasiphaë nursed him, but he grew and became ferocious, being the unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast; he had no natural source of nourishment and thus devoured humans for sustenance. Minos, after getting advice from the oracle at Delphi, had Daedalus construct a gigantic labyrinth to hold the Minotaur. Its location was near Minos’ palace in Knossos. More on the Minotaur
The term Minotaur derives from the Ancient Greek Μῑνώταυρος, a compound of the name Μίνως (Minos) and the noun ταύρος “bull”, translated as “(the) Bull of Minos”. In Crete, the Minotaur was known by the name Asterion, a name shared with Minos’ foster-father.
“Minotaur” was originally a proper noun in reference to this mythical figure. The use of “minotaur” as a common noun to refer to members of a generic species of bull-headed creatures developed much later, in 20th-century fantasy genre fiction.
José García Ocejo (Córdoba, Veracruz , June 14, 1928) is a Mexican painter. He was born on June 14, 1928 in the city of Córdoba, Veracruz. His first studies were carried out at the School of Architecture of the UNAM , and at the School of Painting “La Esmeralda” , which he chose to leave on the advice of the artist Diego Rivera . In 1953 he obtained a scholarship to study in Madrid, he later moved to Austria and continued his studies with the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka . It was in that time where he won several awards, including an Honor Diploma and the distinction of the City Museum.
He has also been awarded by various national and international institutions, including the National Institute of Fine Arts and Le Comité di Terra Santa in Milan, Italy. He was also a member of the “National System of Artistic Creators” in 1993 and 1997 . More on José García Ocejo
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