40 Drawings in 40 Days – #36 – Hephaestus

Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metal, fire and volcanoes – the latter from his Roman name, Vulcan.  He worked on his blacksmith shop inside the volcanic Mount Etna, crafting the weapons used by the other Olympian gods.  If there is a cool bit of armour or weapon in a Greek myth then it’s likely Hephaestus made it.

In some versions of Hephaestus’ story, he is the son of both Zeus and Hera but in other stories he is the son of just Hera because she created him alone as revenge for Zeus giving birth to Athena (out of his head) without his wife.  In many versions of the story, Hephaestus was then rejected by Hera because of being a cripple and she threw him out of Olympus.  Dionysus returned him to Olympus.

Hephaestus was married to Aphrodite who famously cuckolded him with Ares, among others.  Hephaestus captured the canoodling pair in a chain net he had fashioned and then dragged them to Olympus to become a spectacle in front of the other gods.   Hephaestus, however, was not beyond his own running around, fathering children with various nymphs.

Hephaestus’ symbols are the items of his craft: the anvil, hammer and tongs.  I built those into my drawing by having him clutch the hammer in his fist and I made the hammer and tongs tattoos on his muscular arm.  I drew him wearing his oval cap and the protective leather tunic of a man who works with hot metals and burning coals.  I chose to ignore his lameness (which might have been the classical world’s allusion to the arsenic poisoning common among metal workers) and instead focused on his strength, giving him a powerful, muscular arm and a broad neck.  There’s not much mirth in Hephaestus’ mythology so I gave him a somewhat solemn, steely facial expression.

36b - Hephaestus

Hephaestus

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