Thursday, 17 March 2016

‘Ariadne,’ by John William Waterhouse


Ariadne was King Minos’s daughter, who in legend helped Theseus slay the Minotaur and save the would-be sacrificial victims. (Among other assistance, it was her who suggested Theseus unspool a roll of thread to help him find his way back through the labyrinth.)

Waterhouse captures the moment, after a whirlwind romance and elopment, Theseus abandons her on Naxos – to be later rediscovered by Dionysus, the god of wine whose symbol was a leopard. You can see him already prowling at the end of her bed.

But what about that other leopard beneath her feet … ?

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