The legend of Boreas and Oriethhyia serves as the subject of a visually interesting painting by Evelyn DeMorgan. In the original story, Boreas, the north wind, abducts Oriethyia after failing to woo her. The sexual assault of women (and sometimes men) by gods or spirits is fairly common in ancient mythology and reflects some disturbing aspects of those cultures concerning attitudes towards women. Of course, it also reveals the unfortunate reality of how women were physically treated throughout history. While this is and always has been a problem, its prevalence has varied from place to place and from time to time.
Now for the painting itself. What drew my attention were the winged Boreas, the flowing fabric, and the background landscape. Neither of these is as impressive by itself as they all are in combination. This visual synergy draws the eye. Curiously, there is no obvious evidence of distress on the face of Oriethyia.
Next week’s post will look at two more paintings by this artist before we move on to another.