ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings

THESEUS by André Durand (2003) (Theseus, male nude, Crete, King Minos)



Dimensions: 127 x 127

Oil on linen


…and the Minotaur
At this time, the Athenians, who had been at war with King Minos 2 of Crete, were forced by him to send every year seven youths and seven young women as a tribute to the Minotaur. Theseus was numbered among those who were to be sent as the third tribute to the beast. But when he came to Crete, Minos 2’s daughter Ariadne fell in love with him, and having obtained the secret to the Labyrinth from its constructor Daedalus, she disclosed the way out to Theseus. In the last part of the Labyrinth, Theseus found the Minotaur and killed him, and since he had been instructed by Ariadne, who had offered to help him if he would agree to carry her away to Athens and have her to wife, he found his way out. They both fled from Crete, but on arriving to Naxos (one of the Cyclades islands) Theseus deserted her.

Durand Album @ Greek Mythology Links

“The human form per se is dominant in this picture. Although we know his identity (the thread and his purple cloak identitify him as Prince Theseus) it is perhaps not that important here. He faces the landscape, Nature. His sinuous, muscled torso – highlighted by the white thread around his narrow waist and thrown into greater relief by the hard, grey limestone rock – stands in contrast to and perhaps in defiance of the natural Greek landscape. Man is soft and beautiful; Nature can be harsh but beautiful nevertheless.
And in contrast to both Man and Nature stride the pylons – stiff and unyielding. Are they the Beast within us, our horrors, the Minotaur, Man’s creations, modern industrial society? Or maybe just a blot on the modern landscape!
And if we return to the contemplative Theseus himself…Is he about to face the Minotaur on Crete? Or is he about to abandon Ariadne?
Is he a brave hero… or a cowardly cad?

Ancient and modern; man and machine; thread of life, human form and landscape… pick your title but in reality the title plays second fiddle to the art. The juxtaposition of the finely-realized human form and the stark beauty of the Greek landscape [Cretan] is second-to-none."

Marcus Lodwick