The Branding of the Minotaur
7.25 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches
Glass mug, glass beads, synthetic clay, bronze, paint
Back in 2013 I was considering joining the effort to decipher “Linear A”, the main script used in governmental and religious writings by the Minoan civilization. I had been doing art inspired by science for so long, I got the urge to actually do science. But I didn’t want to do science exactly the way that it’s normally done, I wanted to do “artscience”, i.e, more in the tradition of David Edwards. I eventually concentrated my research on Paleolithic and Neolithic art and non-figurative markings, but this piece is from the time when I was studying Linear A.
The story of the Minotaur comes from the Minoan people (the name we’ve given to them as we don’t know what they called themselves.) In the story, the queen of Minos falls in love with a bull, gives birth to a half bull/half man child who gets to spend his life locked up inside a labyrinth under the palace. The glyphs on the brand that the woman is holding in the piece mean “bull man” in Linear A.
Originally I was going to literally brand the minotaur on the chest, but I decided I liked the scene better in the middle of the action rather than at the end. I used aspects of many paintings and photos of bulls for reference for the minotaur. The woman is mostly based on an unknown artist’s rendering of a Minoan palace scene that has been used in various sites on the web.
Thanks to Bill Clune for suggesting the Bronz MetalClay and showing me how to carve wax (and also lending me his tools and giving me the wax!)