CRANE, Walter
(b. 1845, Liverpool, d. 1915, Horsham)

The Fate of Persephone

1877
Oil and tempera on canvas, 123 x 267 cm
Private collection

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She became the queen of the underworld after her abduction by Hades, the god of the underworld, with the approval of her father, Zeus. The myth of her abduction, her sojourn in the underworld and her temporary return to the surface represents her functions as the embodiment of spring and the personification of vegetation, especially grain crops, which disappear into the earth when sown, sprout from the earth in spring and are harvested when fully grown.

In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades.




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