I have painted several pieces over the past few years based on the mythic tale of Baucis and Philemon, taken from the Metamorphoses from the Roman poet Ovid. I have described the story here several times of the visit to a village by Zeus and Mercury, disguised as beggars. They are roughly tuned away from every door in the village until they come to the home of the poor elderly couple, Baucis and Philemon, where they are welcomed with warmth and gracious hospitality despite the poverty of their household. Sparing the couple as he destroys the village in his wrath, Zeus then grants them any wish they might desire.
They choose to be allowed to stay together for eternity. When they pass away simultaneously years later, they are resurrected as two separate trees that grow from the same trunk, united forever. It’s a lovely fable and one of my favorites. I have always chose to depict this story simply, with two trees, one red and one green, intertwined together.
I call this painted version The Gift of Zeus. It is a n 18″ by 18″ canvas that is headed to the West End Gallery for my annual solo show there which opens next Friday, July 20. There’s a crispness in this piece that I find very appealing as well as interesting contrasts and subtleties in the sky, which may not show up well in the photo here, that give this piece a dramatic edge that catches my eye each time I pass by it in the studio.