Naiade – Roberto Ferri

Ferri, really is in my top ten artists. He hits a lot of marks for me, generally covering mythical creatures in the style of art masters, and exploring the darker side of the perception. His pictures are beautifully composed and on occasion serenely grotesque.

The subject of this painting is the mythical creature the naiad. In Greek mythology these were female water nymphs and while not the highest featuring in stories they always play a background role. If you remember in the story about Andromeda, Cassiopeia boosted that she and her daughter we more beautiful that the naiads. (If you can’t remember have a nosey through my other posts and find the one on Andromeda).

Naiads differ from river gods as they were supposed to frequent fountains, wells, springs, streams and any body of fresh water. Ancient Greeks did how ever have a bit of an over lap as they thought that the water systems through out the world were all the same, so while they had ocean nymphs, river gods and river nymphs, there was little comprehension between the differences of water so they do tend to cross over some what in stories.

Naiads often had cult statuses and were worshipped as essential to human existence. Boys and girls who were coming of age would cut their hair and dedicate their childish locks in a ceremony. Animals were also drowned to appease the naiads and Greek oracles would situate themselves near springs to gain the knowledge of the naiads.

While horrendously beautiful, the naiads were dangerous, jealous and vengeful. Stories of naiads falling deeply in love with men and doing anything to keep them in their grasp such as blinding their love or taking them in to a carnal embrace and then fusing with them so that they could never leave their side.

Ferri captures the beauty of the naiads perfectly in this painting. Giving her a spinal dorsal fin down her leg, which in fish assist them with fast turns, and rolling in the waters. It conjures an image of the naiads being able to gracefully speed through then water and perform elegant movements. As always, Ferri, highlights the feminine charms, displaying a perfect backside with shapely legs. Her hair flowing, she is a vision of loveliness, hiding her true personality.

Naiads have been closely linked with the stories of mermaids and sirens, which is unsurprising considering the characteristics that they display.

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