Allegory of Eris’ Choice

Allegory of Eris' choice

Those of us who love classical stories know all too well the myth of Eris, the Garden of the Hesperides, the Judgment of Paris and the Triumph of Venus. But little is said about the choice of the fruit and the material of the apple.

Eris, goddess of discord, thought of the apple as the proverbial fruit of the fall, disputes, change, enlightenment and rebellion.

It remained then the choice of the material. An ordinary apple would not last forever; it had to be made of a metal, but which one? The options were: mercury, iron, gold, silver and copper; each one an alchemical element, a consecration to a different star, and at the same time, with a determined intrinsic value.

My work shows the moment of that choice, in allegorical form: the pillar (powerful thanks to the magic square Sator) holds an arm and a hand, with a finger pointing towards the golden apple. Gold, the metal consecrated to the Sun, symbolizes perfection and purity, but also superbness. Thus, the apple hides a secret meaning: perfection achieved through arrogance. Of course, this hidden meaning is not canonical; at least as canonical as the incestuous transgression we can witness in Bronzino’s work.

The Golden Apple and the Rose

There are two central elements in my work: the golden apple (of which we have already spoken) and the rose. The latter balances the influence of the apple, as it represents beauty, glory, pleasure, which are achieved through hard work represented by the thorns that lie beneath the flower. It is the counterpoint to the hubris hidden in the apple: the humility of a flower that is both common and beautiful, and which can only be conquered through suffering or hard work.

A third, secondary, element lies in the Sator square. One of the most accepted meanings is magical: it is said to prevent manipulation by the devil. By inscribing such a magical palindrome on the pedestal, Eris prevents any manipulation outside her own plans.

This work is the first in a series on Venus, Eris, the Judgment of Paris and the Apple of Discord. In turn, the series will be part of a cycle of allegories and interpretations on various stories and scenes from classical and contemporary literature.

You can find this artwork here.

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