40 Drawings in 40 Days – #32 – Dionysus

Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, wine-making and the grape harvest.  I, therefore, like Dionysus.  Of course, he was also the god of madness….  The Romans called Dionysus Bacchus and the adjectives Dionysian and Bacchanalian both refer to impulsive, spontaneous, often alcohol-induced revelry.  He’s all about non-conformity and chaos.

He was the only one of the Olympians to have a mortal mother and his birth was unconventional to say the least.  He was yet another of the offspring of Zeus so, when Semele was pregnant, Hera’s vengeful side was provoked again.  Hera tricked Semele into having Zeus appear before her which led to her instantaneous death because she gazed upon an immortal.  Zeus quickly rescued the unborn baby and stitched him into his thigh.  Yes.  His thigh.  He was born from Zeus’ thigh some time later.

Dionysus is the god who plays a key part in the myth of King Midas.  The story goes that Midas provided shelter and hospitality to Dionysus’ foster father and so the god told Midas he would give him any reward he chose.  Midas, of course, opted to have the ability to turn anything he touched into gold.  The catch was that everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and his family.  Finally Midas begged Dionysus to take away his gift.

I completely admit that I was very influenced by the Beethoven’s pastoral symphony segment from ‘Fantasia’ in which Dionysus is rotund and jolly with a boozer’s rosy nose and wears a headband adorned with bunches of grapes while he frolics with fauns, pegasuses and centaurs.  My Dionysus, therefore, is not the comely youth of many classical statues but is instead the same type of plump and ruddy drunkard.  In addition to the grape headband I drew my Dionysus wearing leopard skin since he was associated with leopards.

32b - Dionysus


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