The Awakening of Adonis – (John William Waterhouse) Previous Next


Artist:

Style: Romanticism

Topic: Myths

Date: 1899

Size: 188 x 95 cm

Technique: Oil On Canvas

The Awakening of Adonis (1900) is an oil painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse. In Greek mythology, Adonis was a youth of remarkable beauty, the favourite of the goddess Aphrodite. Traditionally, he was the product of the incestuous love Smyrna (Myrrha) entertained for her own father, the Syrian king Theias. Charmed by his beauty, Aphrodite put the newborn infant Adonis in a box and handed him over to the care of Persephone, the queen of the underworld, who afterward refused to give him up. An appeal was made to Zeus, the king of the gods, who decided that Adonis should spend a third of the year with Persephone and a third with Aphrodite, the remaining third being at his own disposal. Adonis became an enthusiastic hunter, and was killed by a wild boar during the chase. Aphrodite pleaded for his life with Zeus, who allowed Adonis to spend half of each year with her and half in the underworld. The central idea of the myth is that of the death and resurrection of Adonis, which represent the decay of nature every winter and its revival in spring. He is thus viewed by modern scholars as having originated as an ancient spirit of vegetation. Annual festivals called Adonia were held at Byblos and elsewhere to commemorate Adonis for the purpose of promoting the growth of vegetation and the falling of rain. The name Adonis is believed to be of Phoenician origin (from 'adon, "lord"), Adonis himself being identified with the Babylonian god Tammuz.

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Artist

John William Waterhouse

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