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 … ?