Pathos Hephaestus Analysis

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Classical Greek mythology has long been an inspiring subject to artists. The symbolism and allure of the folklore has been a major artistic theme throughout the centuries. Many of the most famous images we know today, like Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” or Michelangelo’s “David,” draw from both classical Greek antiquity - the study of sculpture and body form from the Classical period – and classical Greek mythology. In his sculpture “Pathos Hephaestus Eros,” artist John Whitcomb Robinson utilizes this same mythology to portray the Greek god Hephaestus in relation to humanity. I’d like to reiterate some important elements of the formal analysis of this sculpture that play an important role in its interpretation. “Pathos Hephaestus Eros” is a steel sculpture which stands…show more content…
Hephaestus’s personal ties to sculpture are very relevant to understanding this piece of art. Robinson’s sculpture aims to embody all of the elements associated with the god Hephaestus, as discussed above. It is crafted from steel, which is reflective of Hephaestus’ skills in masonry. The fact that it’s a sculpture rather than a painting or drawing draws connections to the god’s position as a patron of sculpture. As I discussed in my formal analysis, the motion in Pathos Hephaestus Eros gives allusions of a hardworking laborer, swinging some sort of tool. The eroded exterior of the metal aides this allusion as it shows the long term wear and tear of the subject’s never ending labor. The three words in the title set the stage for how to interpret this sculpture. First, “Pathos” is a Greek word meant to appeal to and evoke emotions. We often here “pathos” when discussing rhetoric in writing as the tool which writers use to appeal to reader’s emotions and make their writing more enjoyable. Its traditional interpretation, however, translates to “suffering” or “experience.” “Hephaestus,” as I’ve explained above, is the Greek god of fire and blacksmiths. Lastly,
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