Owl Symbolism Essay

1471 Words 6 Pages
In art, a symbol is usually a solid, recognizable thing – an animal, a plant, an object, etc. – that stands for something that would be hard to show in a picture or a sculpture. A symbol can also stand for someone’s whole story. (Smithsonian Education) Symbolism represents a synthesis of form and feeling, of reality and the artist’s inner subjectivity. (Myers) Symbolism is often times associated with the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists from 1870 – 1900 who believed their emotions and sensations were important for elements for interpreting nature, but the depiction of nature remained a primary focus of their efforts. (Gardner, Kleiner) There is symbolism all over in different aspects of art, not just during the late 1800’s time …show more content…
The owl has often times been associated with wisdom and even with witchcraft and medicine. In the mythology of Ancient Greece, Athene, the Goddess of Wisdom, was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of the Owl that, having banished the mischievous crow, she honoured the night bird by making him her favourite among feathered creatures. (Lewis) The Ancient Greek believed that it was a magical inner light of sorts that gave the owls their night vision. Greek soldiers took the powerfulness of the owl quite literal as well. During battles, if an owl was to fly over them the soldiers took it as a sign that they would be victorious in their endeavors. Athene’s bird was known as Athene noctua, or Little Owl and was greatly protected and was even on Athenian silver tetradrachm coins. It is obvious that the Ancient Greek people revered their precious owl and put a great deal of trust in this feathered …show more content…
She ended up being faster than any man, became very famous throughout Ancient Greece, and promised to marry the first man that could outrun her – although as she was faster than any man she did not anticipate that happening any time soon. During a race, Hippomenes, sometimes referred to as Melanion, fell in love with Atlanta and was able to distract her with three golden apples. Hippomenes begged Athena for help so that he could acquire Atlanta as his bride. Hippomenes would toss the apples in front of her anytime that she would pass him and Atlanta would pick them up each time. The golden apples slowed her down to the point where she actually lost the race to Hippomenes. As she had promised, Atlanta wed Hippomenes, but had him turned into a lion so that he could accompany her on her various hunts. Since Hippomenes forgot to repay Athena, and gods do not do anything without something in exchange, both Atlanta and Hippomenes were turned to lions. In this instance, the apples symbolize selfishness, distraction, and greed.

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