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Essay On Ganymedes

This sculpture shows an eagle and a man. The bird is sitting upright on the left hand side of the sculpture and the man is crouching to the right of him. The man is facing the eagle and feeding it from a bowl in his left hand. In the man’s right hand there is a pitcher. The man is wearing a pointed hat with flaps, and he has curly hair. The man appears to be young, around 25. Between the mans right arm and his right thigh is a clock like cloth that drapes behind the man. This man is crouching down and his back and shoulders are hunched over. His right knee is touching the ground and his left foot is flat on the floor making his left knee level with his right hand and the bowl. The man’s eyes are looking at the eagles eyes, but the eagle is looking into the bowl that he is drinking or eating from. The point of the man’s hat is bent forward in a way that mimics the eagles head. The eagle is shown in hieratic scale, almost as large as the man. The man is crouching down in a servant like position, and is performing…

From greek mythology we know that the eagle represents Zeus. Ganymedes is crouched down in a position of service, and in his hands Ganymedes is holding a pitcher and a bowl. These are both feminine objects, suggesting that Ganymedes is serving Zeus the way that a wife traditionally would. In most sculptural depictions of Ganymedes and Zeus, Ganymedes is traditionally on the eagles back or in a passionate sexualized embrace. But what is interesting is that in this sculpture Thorvaldsen chose to take a more subtle path. This could have been been Thorvaldsen trying to set himself apart from his italian counterpart Antonio Canova? While this work is not overtly sexulaized it does have hints of homosexualitly. The Eagles beak dipping into Ganymedes bowl is very sexualy sugestive. It is also the center of this composition, which shows that this motif is what Thorvaldsen wanted his viewers to…

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