Sculpture Saturday *6

milkboys Art, Sculpture Saturday 12 Comments

Apollo and Hyacinth by Stefano Ricci

Hyacinthus was a beautiful Spartan youth, beloved by the god Apollo.  As the good Spartan he was, Hyacinthus loved athletics, and one day the two decided to practice throwing the discus.  Apollo went first, sending the disc flying up to “scatter the clouds” as Ovid says.  Hyacinthus ran laughing after it, thinking to catch the disc, but instead it hit him in the head, killing him.  Ovid has a beautiful passage about Apollo holding the dying youth, desperately trying to use his skill with medicine to keep him alive.  But even the mighty god of healing could not save the one he loved.

In honour of his lover, Apollo makes a flower spring up from Hyacinthus’ blood.  Confusingly, this flower isn’t actually what we today call a hyacinth.  Most sources agree that it was most likely an iris or a larkspur, since the myth tells us that Apollo writes on the flower the sound of his grief (Ai, Ai).

The Death of Hyacinthos by Jean Broc

In a second variant of the myth, Hyacinthus’ death is actually a murderous crime of passion.  Turns out that not only was Apollo in love with Hyacinthus, but so was Zephyrus, the west wind.  Seeing how attached Apollo and Hyacinthus were, he grew jealous, and in an old-fashioned twist on “If I can’t have him no one can” he deliberately blows the discus into Hyacinthus’ path, killing him.  This version emphasises the terrifying pettiness of the gods, and the dangers of mixing with them, even if–especially if–they love you.  Like nearly all ancient love affairs between mortals and divinities, it ends in tragedy for the mortal.

Text by Madeline Miller

Comments 12

  1. Interesting how ancient sculptors’ models always had shaved pubes and totally smooth bodies. The artists were happy to portray hair on the head, but nowhere else.

    1. Pubes are too hard to carve and would disappear in the polishing process, but they are both gorgeous anyway.

      1. That’s not right? Ancient sculptures depicting men did show a modest amount of pubic hair. In this both Apollo and Hyacinth are depicted as youths and thus without pubic hair.

  2. Beautiful sculpture(s?) indeed. And very naturally proportioned as well — all parts.

    And for those wishing “more” in the genital area, just remember, the more ‘resources’ needed for larger genitals, the less resources available for the brain and intellect. More penis :: less brain = lower evolution. :-) (Not to be taken that seriously, except in thought.)

  3. Breathtakingly beautiful…………..every inch of their lovely slim figures is a true feast for the eyes and mind.

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