Facing our Demons: Dragons, Serpents and Snakes

Debra Healy of the two exquisite blogs Diamonds & Rhubarb and Paris Originals commented on the last post regarding St. George and the importance of facing dragons both good and bad. Continuing that theme with Franz von Stuck (1863 - 1928), a German Symbolist/ Art Nouveau artist, designer and architect who often chose mythological subjects for his paintings. One of them was Hercules and the Hydra where the hero defeats the many headed water beast. Stuck also taught several great painters including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Another artist who chose heroes facing dragons was Viktor Vasnetsov (1848 - 1926). The Russian artist was an important figure in the revivalist movement in Russian art and illustrated the heroic bogatyr battling the giant mountain serpent Zmei Gorinich. In the case of St Margaret she escapes from a dragon representing Satan as in French Romantic Antoine Auguste Ernest Hébert’s (1817 -1908) painting. Sometimes the maiden ends up marring her serpent who transforms into a handsome prince. Danish illustrator, Kay Nielson’s (1886-1957) depicted the Scandinavian folk tale Prince Lindworm for East of the Sun and west of the Moon.