18 November 2020

Iterations of dusk, the chariot of the goddess Selene sinks beneath the horizon


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 6 November, 2020, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 11 November 2020, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Variations on a theme of dusk. Though done on different evenings they follow the moments of change in as many of the iterations which I am able to capture. 

As if by ritual, it seems both earth and sky prepare for twilight by yielding to a shower of fine fairy dust until  the arrival of Night driven in a black hearse.

I am there most nights to witness it. Sometimes after working, I languish and await the first few stars to become visible. It is a glorious moment but without fanfare. It is akin to stumbling, unexpectedly upon a field of tiny wildflowers.

This is the head of one of the exhausted horses that draws the chariot of the moon goddess Selene goddess of the night. Having ridden all night it reveals its fatigue. There are two which are part of the Elgin Marbles in The British Museum (Two other horses and Selene’s torso are in the Acropolis Museum, Athens.) In the corners of this pediment, the exact time of day was set by the chariot of Helios, rising at dawn, and the chariot of Selene, sinking beneath the horizon. 

Like many, I have always loved this head exhibited on the far right of the whole group of figures and horses in th British museum. It is, for me, that height of technical perfection coupled with an intuitive feeling, or emotion unique to rare artists and artisans. And so, both dawn and dusk have been celebrated for thousands of years on this earth. I celebrate it too, in my own way on a beach on the North Coast of Australia.

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