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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Father and Son, Greece to Renaissance to Pop Art


During the Renaissance, Hercules was often seen a symbol of Christ especially insofar as he fought against the monsters that threatened humankind. More in depth, however, Hercules' story contains some tragic questions about the stressing relationship between sons/children and fathers, all the more so when the "father" is the or a Ruler, either positive or negative, of the universe.

The subject is so fascinating that is still nowadays reworked in one of the most significant fields of Pop Art and mass communication, namely comics. The picture above is freely based on Hellboy, a character created by Mike Mignola in the 1990s, also starring in two fantastic movies directed by Guillermo Del Toro: The son of Azzael and a witch, he rebels against his father and helps a team of special agents to fight against all sort of hellish monsters, though periodically 'temped' to get back to his 'native calling' as a devil. -- Italian readers might remember Geppo!

In the picture, things have been messed up a bit more. Hellboy/Hercules possesses the power of lightning like his father Zeus, who in his turn exhibits a blood stain on his forehead that recalls the Son, the Crucifix (based on the Holy Shroud kept in Turin, Italy). These details were not preprogrammed, they came out in the process as is always the case with Surrealism, which has its roots precisely in the 16th century. So, what may all this mean?