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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings

Heracles

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Heracles 2005
heracles.jpg
Acrlyic on board 10.5x15 cm

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About the Picture

This portrait is of a man who now reflects upon his own insanity. In Euripides' drama Heracles the returning king of Thebes is tricked and driven into madness. In this state he mistakes his children and wife for the traitors who have taken his city from him. Without true knowledge of whom he hurts, he sets about their murder. When the spirit of Athena brings him to his senses, he is driven by guilt. How could a man commit a crime against those he loves? Suicide becomes his only source of solace. However, in contradiction to the conventions of high attic tragedy, Heracles is persuaded by Theseus to face his suffering through life. This continence is the central theme of the painting: a representation of the face of one who bears an unbearable past.

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