Monday, July 30, 2012

Snakes in the British Museum

Aztec-Mixtec turquoise double-headed snake
 Aztec fire serpent
(it's a rattler, see the fangs?)

 Aztec rattlesnake, 
Crotalus durissus
(the Aztecs did like snakes)
 I am not sure what this figure is doing with this snake,
but it's a detail inside a late Egyptian coffin

 This Roman-era Egyptian child's coffin
also has a serpent on the lid.

Also Roman, this detail of "Mithras slaying the bull"
shows a dog and snake drinking the blood of the bull
that the god is spilling.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Temptations and Serpents

 A few days ago I visited the Courtauld gallery.
It is small but very choice.
The above painting is by Cranach, Eve tempting Adam.
(I always think of Judith Merkle Riley's book
The Serpent Garden and her heroine Susanna painting Eve)...

The bottom one is a detail of Rubens,
Moses and the Brazen Serpent.
Serpents often get bad press, but here is one Biblical good snake.