Europe and Zeus, Edition of 4, Linocut, 16" x 22", 2020
Europa and Zeus
Crocus and narcissus spill from their baskets as Europa and her companions scyth across the quiet fields. Morning sun gleams off the dewy petals they pluck, peals of laughter and whispered gossip echoes around them. Hearing these maiden’s mellifluous voices, Zeus rises from his mountaintop and peers beyond the ridge. Catching sight of fair Europa’s slender form he cannot let her sweetness pass him by. Zeus descends from his lofty seat and as he parts through the morning mist he sheds his human skin in favour of a bovine form. A gentle lowing causes the women to turn in wonder at the snowy bull mildly plodding into view. Awed by his gilded horns and lulled by the softness of his eye, Europa fails to see the blackness of his heart. As the maidens wreath his horns with crowns of flowers and stroke his velvet muzzle, the feigned docility incites Europa’s guard to slip. With a flash of lightening and crack of thunder, Zeus grabs a baffled Europa and leaps from the shores of Phoenicia. Europa twists and strains but the vices of Zeus’ grip just tighten more with every failed attempt. Sailing over Ocean’s crests Europa’s fate is sealed – she will bare her shame and be his next mate. In my retelling of this myth, the young women have shed their baskets of blooms and veils of demureness for spears and dogs. Together they fight frantically to keep Europa from the clutches of the predatory bull and against the tide pulling on their feminine fate.
Sources: Mochus Europa, Ovid Metamorphosis