Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ouroboros (1985), 320 X 385 X 190 mm, Collection of Riana Du Preez, Photograph Jac De Villiers.

This sculpture represents Psyche, the soul, in a deep sleep on a bed in the form of a lustful tail-biting creature symbolising the alpha and omega, Ouroboros, or the beginning and the end of a souls pilgrimage from earth to heaven. The swan, as a symbol of purity and the righteousness of God, is an extension of Psyche's right arm which lies on her breast as a gesture of her submission to the will of God and the gift of eternal life.

Milton refers to the story of Cupid and Psyche in the conclusion of his Comus:

'Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced, Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranced , After her wandering labors long, Till free consent the Gods among Make her his eternal bride...'

Thomas Bulfinch writes that the story of Cupid is commonly considered allegorical. He notes  that the Greek name for a butterfly is Psyche, and that the same word means 'soul'. Therefore he concludes that Psyche is the human Soul cleansed by trials and tribulations.

Press-moulded and hand built in white stoneware clay and bisquit fired  to 900 degrees Celsius. Painted with manganese oxide and a blue under-glaze colour. Brushed with a wirebrush to reveal the clay body. The figure was glazed in a transparent glaze (painted), and fired to 1060 degrees Celsius. Painted with yellow lustre and fired to 720 degrees Celsius. 

Below is the drawing for the ceramic series based on myths pertaining to immortality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi eugene, boy i go off the grid for a few days and look at all the catching up i have to do. the ouroboros... i have always personally loved the iconography associated with the ouroboros and have felt since first discovering it for myself a certain amazement that the image occurred to the relatively primitive minds that first created it. i'm not a tattooed person (not because i don't want to but it's a long story) but always felt that if i went that route that a nice serpent eating its own tail would be my first. anyway the sculpture is beautiful and i love the finish on it. i also love the two drawings associated with the mother of prostitutes sculpture... nice to see the evolution of ideas from one to the other. and by the way, how old were you in the picture in the post a few posts back? you look like you were in your 20's?