Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Views of Atlas

Atlas Turned To Stone by Edward Burne-Jones

Atlas is excellent subject matter for any artist interested in the human form. The option to portray strength, muscle, suffering. There are many options to how Atlas can be portrayed. In the painting by Edward Burne-Jones, Atlas appears composed and accepting of his fate. There is no sign of a struggle with Perseus or any fear of the Medusa's head, that takes his life.  Does the calm composure show relief? The responsibility of holding the heavens is given to his rock built corpse. Atlas is free from punishment.

 
Atlas by Lee Lawrie New York

Lee Lawrie's depiction of Atlas shows no suffering. This Atlas, shows great strength. This Atlas appears to embrace his destiny. There is a sense of ease in how he lifts the heavens. The weight he holds consists of mainly air. There is no struggle, there is only power and strength. 

Each artist has the same story, and the Atlas they reveal is very different. It is more than simply the technique and medium used. The personality and nature of Atlas is completely different in both.