Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Persephone and the Pomegranate: Art in Ancient Greece

Persephone and Hades, art in Ancient Greece
Persephone and Hades Kylix, ca. 430 BC, Attributed to the Codrus Painter, The British Museum, London

Ancient Greece

Persephone and the Pomegranate: Art in Ancient Greece

How has a simple, yet beautiful fruit, been the centre of attention throughout history? The pomegranate is symbolic in many cultures and religions, not just art in Ancient Greece. But for the purpose of this post, the intersection of myth and art in Ancient Greece takes the centre stage.

art in Ancient Greece

Detail of the inside of a pomegranate. Source: Pixabay.

In the Ancient Greek world, the pomegranate was symbolic of funerary rituals, beliefs, and death. The mythological story of Persephone and Hades highlights its importance in the art of Ancient Greece.

The Mythology

Persephone – goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. Daughter of Demeter. Known as Kore (the maiden) in her role as the goddess of Spring’s bounty.


One day when Persephone was in a meadow, she was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the Underworld to be his bride. Her mother Demeter, despaired at her disappearance, searched for her throughout the world accompanied by the goddess Hekate (Hecate) bearing torches. When she learned that Zeus had conspired in her daughter’s abduction she was furious and refused to let the earth fruit until Persephone was returned. Zeus consented, but because the girl had tasted of the food of Hades – a handful of pomegranate seeds – she was forced to forever spend a part of the year with her husband in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth of the new grain. Her return to the underworld in winter, conversely, saw the dying down of plants and the halting of growth.

art in Ancient Greece

Sarcophagus with the Abduction of Persephone by Hades, ca. 200-225 AD, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

The Art in Ancient Greece

There seems to have always existed an intersection between mythology in art; this could not be more true than with the Ancient Greeks. They used mythology to understand their own lives in the best way they knew how: visually.  There are a plethora of artworks in which we can view the Ancient Greek mythology in regards to Persephone. In the above sarcophagus, the pomegranate does not take centre stage; however, the artworks below show a focus on the fruit in Ancient Greece as it relates to the fruit itself and to Persephone as a kore, or young maiden.

art in Ancient Greece

Terracotta Pomegranate, Classical, 5th-4th Century BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


 

Kore Pomegranate, art in Ancient Greece

Woman with Pomegranate, ca. 575 BC, Berlin State Museums

Pomegranate Kore Acropolis, art in Ancient Greece

Pomegranate Kore, ca. 580-570 BC, Acropolis Museum, Athens

For more info: Check out DailyArtMagazine’s section on the Ancient World!

    

Art historian (art lover, artist), general nomad, writer, Mom, and a pilot wife. When she’s not spending all of her free time reading and writing YA novels, she can be found at her favorite coffee shop drinking coffee in all its various forms…right now, that’s an iced vanilla latte half sweet with almond milk…in case you were wondering. Favorite art style is impressionism. Favorite theme is the Annunciation.

Check out my site here: https://rachelmbwitte.wixsite.com/wittylife

Comments

More in Ancient Greece

  • Ancient

    Pentelic Splendour: The Erechtheion Caryatids

    By

    I visited Athens, Greece in the summer of 2016. Naturally a visit to the Acropolis was mandatory, and it was as beautiful and epic as you can imagine. One of the most striking sights was the six Caryatids of the Erechtheion, which were even more hypnotizing...

  • Prehistoric Sculpture Prehistoric Sculpture

    Ancient

    Sacred Signs – Prehistoric Sculpture

    By

    It seems that forming figurative shapes out of natural materials has always been with us. As humans developed, a bigger, more sophisticated brain allowed for more processing power and higher functions such as language and creative expression. Prehistoric art covers a period from the Stone Age...

  • Ancient Greece

    Jewelry in Ancient Greece: Hellenistic Period Pieces

    By

    When approaching art or the history related to it, certain questions arise. Such as the who what when where and significance of the object of work of art in question. I think that with jewelry, the questions center more on perhaps the significance of the object....

  • Ancient Greek Kouros and Kore Ancient Greek Kouros and Kore

    Ancient Greece

    The Ancient Greek Kouros and Kore

    By

    Classical Greek statues depicting male and female bodies are iconic, legendary and set the standards for numerous artists and art movements to come. Preceding the Classical Era, was the Archaic (7th-5th c. BCE) during which statues of young men (Kouros) and women (Kore) were created, and...

  • Ancient

    Blues of Bablyon: The Ishtar Gate

    By

    Babylon, the ancient Mesopotamian city (modern day Iraq) existed from 18th century to 6th century BCE. Since that time its legend has generated many myths – the Hanging Gardens, the Tower of Babel, and biblical interpretations added to the mystery of the city. With Babylon’s Ishtar...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy