|Danae, 1907-08, Gustave Klimt|
|Athene, 1898, Gustav Klimt|
|The Intervention of the Sabine Women |
(after David), 1962-63, Pablo Picasso
|Pink Minotaur Monitor, Night Guests,|
1982, Joe Shannon
But it was not the myths of the previous century that intrigued them, and nearly always, it was work predicated upon a strongly erotic theme. Picasso chose what he called "tribute" pieces such as The Intervention of the Sabine Women (after David) (above, left) dating from the early 1960s. Dali, on the other hand, seems to have embraced classical mythology almost by default in his vehement rejection of abstraction. But in both cases, these two giants of 20th century art were intent upon reinventing mythological painting to fit their own personal needs. Yet their influence can be seen in the work of artists such as the German, Max Beckmann, and the American, Joe Shannon. Beckmann's The Argonauts (below), dating from 1949 revives, for mythological purposes, the traditional Christian format of the triptych, which he later used for several religious works as well. His paintings, with their three separate compartments, seem very much within the narrative tradition of the Academicists, yet stylistically they relate much more closely to Picasso than to Beckmann's German forebears who invented the triptych. Shannon's Pink Minotaur Monitor, Night Guests (above, right), dating from 1982, draws upon the work of both Beckmann (stylistically) and Picasso (subjectively). From Beckmann he derives his rather heavy, idealized figures with their over sized feet and exaggerated physical attributes while borrowing from Picasso his fascination with the bull, which he displays both in "real life" and as seen in a painted TV image. His nude figures seem almost photographic, even pornographic.
|The Argonauts, 1949-50, Max Beckmann|
|The Wooden Horse: Number 10A, 1948, Jackson Pollock|
--mythology where you would least expect it.