Monday, June 20, 2011

Sirens


Siren Whisper Sweet by Edward Kwong.

Satiated Siren by Gustav-Adolf Mossa, 1905.
In some versions of the myth, the sirens were once nymphs and companions of the goddess Persephone. When Persephone was abducted by Hades the nymphs prayed for wings so that they could search for their lost friend. Their wish was granted and they became half bird and half woman. Another version (Ovid V, 551)) states that as punishment for not intervening when Persephone was abducted, Demeter changed their form.

The Siren by John William Waterhouse, 1900.
The Sirens sang songs promising fulfilment of one’s greatest desire, luring sailor’s and fishermen to their deaths.

The Fisherman and the Syren by Frederic Leighton. C. 1856-1858.

Little Siren by Sulamith Wulfing.

Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert Draper.
When Ulysses passed by the island of the Sirens he had his crew fill their ears with wax so they would not hear and be tempted by their song. He however was tied to the mast so his curiosity could be satisfied. He is the only man to hear the Sirens song and live.

 Proserpina’s Companions are turned into Sirens by Johann Ulrich Krauss, 1690.

The Siren by Edward Armitage, 1888.
Despite the written descriptions of Sirens as part bird, it seems more common to depict them as either beautiful women or part fish.

The Sirens by Gustave Moreau, c. 1872.

Fisherman and the Siren by Knut Ekwall.

Sirenen by Arnold Böcklin, 1875.
Böcklin takes an unusually comic approach with the physicality of the Sirens.

Les Sirènes by Louis Adolphe Tessie.

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