In Melbourne, I met Peter Schipperheyn, creator of the magnificent Thus Spake Zarathustra. The monumental piece is at the McClelland Sculpture Park near Mornington. The tension running through Zarathustra’s bowed body as he reaches and affirms his decision is powerful.Continue reading “Stephen Hicks visits Peter Schipperheyn’s “Zarathustra” Sculpture”
Beyond Obstacles, Malevolence, and Ignorance
I have been thinking about writing an art book filled with stories, anecdotes, speculation on prehistorical art, real life experiences, and the knowledge of what is it is like to strive for the sublime. Today I started with the title and listing chapter headings.
Psychological Aesthetics and the Exciting Fight to Evolve: Beyond Obstacles, Malevolence, and Ignorance
- Leaving One’s Mark: Taming Powerful Animals Through Capturing Them In Art
- Imagining the Next Step: Willendorf Venus or I Will See You Later Tonight
- Safety in Group Think, Their Fear of the Unknown and the Extent They Will Go Eradicate Evolutionary Nudges
- Wisdom, Truth, and Courage Within: Calibrating Perception, Evaluation, and Emotion
- To Be or Not To Be? To Break Free or to Conform?
- Tears, Love, and Visibility: The Alternate Universe
- The Art Instinct: What Makes Humans Unique Animals?
- Art is the Power That Religion Wants: Control the Artists you Control the Mass Psyche
- Art Transcends Agendas By Touching Individual Souls
- Power Without Wisdom Corrupts Completely: Michelangelo in the Quarry; Postmodernist Malevolence
- Life or Death: Consequences of Integrity
- Freedom of the Sublime
Myths, legends, and stories infiltrate our collective and individual consciousness, and the same holds true for the visual arts. The myth of Icarus, who flew too high then crashed and burned, was mentioned by Apollodorus around 150 BC and has since shown up countless times in visual art.
Icarus Landing, Phaethon, and Ayn Rand
An interesting twist in the legend comes with my 2000 version. The concept was inspired by Ayn Rand, who rewrote the myth of Phaethon in Atlas Shrugged. In the ancient myth, Apollo gives the reins of the sun chariot to his son Phaethon, who is unable to control the flying horses or escape his destiny. Phaethon and the chariot threaten to crash and annihilate Earth. Zeus, watching, kills Phaethon with a bolt of lightning, forcing Apollo to retake the reins and right the sun chariot’s course.
In Rand’s version, her character, Richard Halley, composes an opera in which Phaethon brilliantly succeeds to steer the sun chariot to a glorious course. I loved the concept of taking a tragic myth and changing the outcome to reflect my absolute inner belief that magnificent experiences are the stuff of living. The chariot thing was too archaic for my modern sensibility, but with some thought I landed on the concept of Icarus. After flying wildly high, I thought, Icarus would return to Earth with gentle gratitude, lit by the orange glow of the day’s setting sun. I opted for no wings, just the outstretched arms. Appropriately I painted this while I lived in Greece, and I won’t lie, I loved scaling the rock cliffs in the buff, jumping from rock to rock, as my friend philosopher David Kelley can attest to.Continue reading “Icarus: How Visual Artists Such as Myself and Bryan Larsen Steal, Borrow, and Originate”