This painting is a depiction of the founding of Europe, and a reflection of the whole process of the British EU Referendum. I have created this painting between May and June, finishing it upon the day of the result, 24th of June, 2016. This MyTH pertains to the origins of Europe, whereby Europa, a Phoenician daughter of Agenor king of Tyre, and a sister of Cadmus, according to Ovid, (or daughter of Agenor’s son, Phoenix according to others -according to Homer, she is Zeus' own daughter) is abducted by Zeus, who has appeared to her on a beach disguised as a white bull, adorned with flowers, in order to enchant her; duly spell-bound, Europa then climbs upon his back and Zeus abducts her by charging into the sea and swimming to Crete, where he begins new nations with her, fathering Minos upon her. Europa, being from Phoenicia, would have been a native of the Middle East, (from what is now Lebanon and Syria, though Phoenicia stretched from modern Spain to Turkey and across North Africa too –it was a seafaring/trading, Mediterranean, pre-EU empire); in the myth, she was fought over by Asia and the Unnamed Continent that would take her name –the refugees from the Middle East have been used as political pawns in the referendum debate; a strange and distorted reflection of the European origin myth. In my painting, Europa symbolises the innocent dream of peace and unity, and stands having taken Zeus’ flowers, her eyes shut, blind to her unfolding fate –the hand reaching out to her is the hand of the god but is also representative of the powerful hands that affect all of our fates right now, and have done since mythical times. The mist represents the enchantment of Europa and the confusion of the issues in the UK media and the political campaigns. Lightning has represented Zeus since antiquity and represents the divisive attitudes of both sides that have dominated the media debate. I have used Venetian Red because “Venetian” is derived from “Phoenician”, (–the city of Venice itself was founded by Phoenicians), and my representation incorporates stylised versions of various painting styles that have influenced our European culture across the centuries. I have also used metallic and iridescent paint as I usually do with my MyTH series, and all of my paint is of the very best quality. This painting is currently un-varnished, but will be finished with a protective coat of C Roberson Exhibition varnish before it is shipped.
Winsor and Newton Artist's Oil / Michael Harding Handmade Oil paints