Activity: Reimagining a myth
Materials: Paper and pencil
Vocabulary: Abstract, dynamic, mythology
David Hare’s sculpture, The Swan’s Dream of Leda, references the myth of the god Zeus becoming a swan so he can seduce the beautiful Leda. There are many works of art that depict Zeus and Leda, but Hare’s is the only one that shows how the swan sees Leda in his dreams. By choosing this unconventional viewpoint, Hare personalizes the myth. Because we all have dreams, we can relate to the idea of the myth in a dream form on some level. The gentle curves and delicate composition of the sculpture give it a feeling of lightness, like it could lift off of the ground and float away. Notice the contrast between the delicately sculpted bronze and the heavy base made of rock materials. The artist worked to make this sculpture dynamic and evocative.
The artist chose to depict this subject matter abstractly. How is this choice more or less effective than depicting this subject matter realistically?
How might dreams be more difficult to depict than reality? How might they be easier to depict?
Can you think of other modern art works that reference classical myths?
Why do you think ancient classical myths are still relevant to us today?
Brainstorm a myth or legend that you are familiar with, for example Cinderella or George Washington and the cherry tree. Make a drawing depicting this story from a different or unexpected point of view, for example from the perspective of the Fairy Godmother or the cherry tree. It may help to write down the story you want to tell first, so you can be sure to include all of these important points in your drawing.
Before David Hare became a sculptor, he earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology. He later became interested in experimental photography, which led him to become an artist.
Abstract -- expressing a quality apart from the way an object appears to the eye; the opposite of realistic
Dynamic -- characterized by action, the opposite of static
Mythology -- stories dealing with the gods and legendary heroes of a particular people