Kooyman_Richard_C_ Meme_oil_8%22x8%22 $800

Richard Kooyman Aphrodite 8″ x 8″ oil on board 2016

 

 

-Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, beauty and pleasure. She was known by many names: Acidalie, Cytherea, Cerigo, Aphrodite Ourania, Aphrodite Pandemos and was often depicted with images of the sea, dolphins, apples, roses, scallops, and pearls.

Aphrodite was forced to marry the dour Hephaestus, god of artisans, craftspeople, metallurgy, and fire. She was powerful with unmatched beauty and had many lovers.

Christian monotheism needed to attack the reasonability of multiple gods to spread their message and Aphrodite was the first goddess they went after. Their vengeance turned sexuality and pleasure into something scorned and dirty. Christians portrayed her as a demon. The Greeks and early Romans believed making love was giving Aphrodite her due respect until the Christians turned sexuality, pleasure, and secular  beauty into something to be renounced.

This scorn is something still felt today.  I can’t help but imagine what life might have been like if we still idolized the goddess of beauty.

“God against man, man against God, man against nature, nature against man, nature against God, God against nature. Very funny religion.”  Daisetz Suzuki

” Homer, Plato, Aquinas, Plotinus, Dante….describe beauty as a ‘greeting. At the moment one comes in to the presence of something beautiful it greets you. It lifts away from a neutral background as though moving forward to welcome you-as though the object were designed to ‘fit’ your perception.”    Elaine Scarry

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