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First Design for the Aeneid Collection: an Ode to the Muse

I’m really excited for this first design. In The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer calls on the Muse to help him sing the epic poems. The Iliad and The Odyssey were originally performed by traveling bards, and Homer isn’t just one person who came up with these two poems, but is the result of centuries of stories being told and passed down. When the bard would retell The Iliad or The Odyssey, he would summon the Muse and the Muse was supposed to use the bard as a vehicle for storytelling.

The Aeneid in contrast, was created by one poet, Virgil, and written 800 years after the recording of the Homeric epics. Virgil pulls tons of references from The Iliad and The Odyssey, like starting his poem by calling on the Muse to help him tell the story of our hero, Aeneas.

And so, that’s how this Collection begins as well.

I’m summoning my painter muse, Frida Kahlo, to help me retell parts of the story of The Aeneid. I didn’t want to use her whole face, which has been used in pop art many times, so I decided to focus on the part of the body that is used for storytelling.

The opening lines of The Odyssey are:

“Sing to me, Oh Muse, of the man of twists and turns

driven time and again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed height of Troy.”

I used this photo of Frida Kahlo to get the shape of the lips I wanted. I was looking for a particular angle of the face where I could reposition the lips to look like they were about to sing. I'm inspired to use pop art for this Collection, something that's more contemporary but unexpected when it comes to the retelling of an ancient story.

I'm going to take a break on Sundays from posting on the blog, but Monday I'll do a quick breakdown of how this image came to be and how I'll translate it to oil painting.

Thanks so much for reading and have a lovely weekend.

Take care,


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