b2ap3_thumbnail_Athena-Deborah-Darling-Gray.jpgAthena has been busy guarding the stairwell in the 1325 end Art Works Downtown/4th St./beautiful downtown San Rafael but the time has come to help bolster the framing.  Not so easy when when measuring a mere 80" tall and 74" wide.  My only excuse is that I started the painting with one piece of paper measuring 20" x 24".  Some Goddesses just don't want to be contained.  The ultimate size was subsequently determined by the wall of my studio.  By that time Athena was part of a series that had evolved featuring Greek Gods and Goddesses.  For their first public outing I wrote outlines and a poem for each.  I thought to myself Greek Mythology is not everyone's personal obsession.  Why not make it a tiny bit more accessible by writing a synopsis?


     Athena was the daughter of Zeus, the chief of the Greek Gods.  She did not have a mother.  Full-grown and in full armor, Athena sprang from the head of Zeus.  In the earliest account of her, The Illiad - the story of the Trojan War, Athena is a fierce and ruthless battle-goddess.  Athena figures prominently in several Greek myths, one of them noted here involving Medusa.  (See web site/deborahdarlilnggray.com for details).  Perhaps the most famous was the Judgement of Paris, famed everywhere as the real reason why the Trojan War was fought.  Priam, the King of Troy had been warned that his son Paris would some day be the ruin of his country so as any astute politician would do he send his son off to herd sheep.  Alas, Paris was asked to settle a wager between Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty, Hera, who was the wife of Zeus and Athena.  Paris choose Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty, and the rest is Greek history.

     In exchange for a golden apple, never mind how those apples get around, Aphrodite promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world would be his.  Paris kidnaps Helen of Troy and a very angry/feeling more than slightly slighted Athena aligns with the Greeks who immediately go to war with Troy.  Athena's temple was the Parthenon in Athens and in later poetry Athena was the embodiment of wisdom, reason and purity.


     Goddess of War, Goddess of Wisdom, Goddess of Home and Hearth  -  Busy Gal!

     What a concept!  A woman without the trouble  -   Someone you don't have to explain baseball to..  

     For more on the interesting paradigm in which the Greeks contemplated all that is feminine I highly recommend, "The Reign of the Phallus (Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens).  Think about it.  Here we have the Goddess of Wisdom, Home and Hearth along with Battle and she doesn't have a mother.  Women need not apply, not even Hera the wife of Zeus.  As this is long before "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Freidan the author Eva C. Keuls uses art, specifically the images on pottery to flesh out the details regarding the status/or lack thereof of women and the details of their everyday life in ancient Athens.  345 images vividly demonstrate the author's argument that classical Athens was more sexually polarized and repressive of women than any other culture in Western history.  Hemlock was not the only problem.

     Or as Tina Fey said between mouthfuls of cake last Saturday on SNL treat the spectre of repressive political rallies, "like the opening of a thoughtful movie with 2 female leads.  Don't show up!"



     I'll report back on her progress.  Achille's heel will be holding her space.

     Love, Deborah                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


     PS  The gentleman in the photo of Athena is Mr. Steve Mack owner of Framing Interiors, 1325 4th St., in beautiful downtown San Rafael.