Vesta – Mixed Media Mythology

The last of my Mixed Media Mythology lessons was taken by Sarah Leonard.  The subject of this final lesson was Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth and home.  Because Mr Pict is a complete and utter nerd about ancient Rome, I was very familiar with Vesta (and her Greek counterpart Hestia).  Vesta was both the oldest and the youngest of the major gods in that she was the first born child of Kronos and Rhea but the last to be released from her father’s stomach when Jupiter killed Kronos and freed his siblings.  She chose to remain a virgin (hence Vestal Virgins) and she took care of Jupiter’s house for him, which leads to her association with domesticity.

The thing I particularly appreciated about Leonard’s lesson was that it was about translating concepts, ideas, connections into a visual medium.  I liked the flexibility and freedom that afforded.  Therefore, as happened with my response to Leonard’s lesson on Freya, my art work massively diverged from the exemplar.  My painting is mainly watercolour with some ink and I worked in shades of brown to reflect my home, which is mainly neutral, natural colours.  I painted the “hearth” bowl copper (acrylic) because my living room has a large copper trough beneath the window.  The flames are collaged scraps of gelli print and the embers of red and gold are spatters of acrylic.

I focused on Vesta’s connection to the hearth because for me a fireplace has become an important element of a house feeling like home.  We had our last home, in Scotland, built for us and as such I designed the fireplace.  It was more of an emotional wrench for me to leave that fireplace behind than it was to leave the rest of the house.  One of the reasons why our current house particularly appealed to me was that it had a fireplace I could envision us sitting around in winter.  My painting of Vesta, therefore, does stick to the lesson brief in being about domesticity.

8 Vesta

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11 thoughts on “Vesta – Mixed Media Mythology

  1. How wonderful that Mr Pict is a Roman mythology buff! I am an ancient mythology buff myself and have roamed far and wide in my search to understand the cultures that preceded modern religions. Eventually I discovered the common theme of the Hearth Goddess, no matter which culture or epoch she comes from, is one of the central heart beat of the home – once extended family, now not so much. The hearth represents the practical and spiritual work of the ‘mother’ – nowadays also applicable to either sex, whoever keeps the home fires burning. I think it is still applicable today – isn’t that a wonderful thing! And your design of your fire place kind of gives a nod to that role too – no wonder you found it difficult to leave behind! Sorry about the wee rave, your post got me all excited 🙂

    PS great painting!!

    • Yay! That’s great to know that you love the ancient world too. I’m pretty into it too, thanks to my husband, though I can’t compare to him in either passion or knowledge. Yes, it’s interesting how many cultures have cross over in their mythologies and customs. I think it speaks of universal experiences.

  2. I bet you had a great time designing your fireplace. From my many readings of your blog, I have already known that you share my mother’s attention to detail character and designing a fireplace was just icing on the cake. Your painting is beautiful. She sends out a feeling of home, the ‘if you need a hug, you can come and i will embrace you’ feel, she is a listener, someone who does not judge but understand. She is all mother.

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