Edmund Dulac

Gods and Mortals in Love

On her wedding day, Eurydice was running in a meadow with Orpheus when she was bitten by a serpent. The poison of the sting killed her and she descended to Hades immediately.  Orpheus was son of Apollo and was blessed with musical talents. Orpheus was so bereft at the loss of Eurydice that he composed music to express the emptiness of his life without her. In desperation, he descended to the underworld to beg for her. Many had approached Hades to beg for loved ones back and all had been denied. But Orpheus' music softened the hard heart of Hades himself. Hades gave his permission to Orpheus to bring Eurydice back to the world of light with only one condition: Orpheus must not look back as he ascended. He must trust that Eurydice followed him. The journey back was long and difficult and as he glimpsed the light, he turned and looked behind him. Eurydice fell back into the Underworld.

Orpheus and Eurydice

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

And when suddenly
the god stopped her and, with anguish in his cry,
uttered the words: 'He has turned round' -
she comprehended nothing and said softly: 'Who?'

from Rainer Marie Rilke,
Orpheus, Hermes, Eurydice

On her wedding day, Eurydice was running in a meadow with Orpheus when she was bitten by a serpent. The poison of the sting killed her and she descended to Hades immediately.

Orpheus was son of Apollo and was blessed with musical talents. Orpheus was so bereft at the loss of Eurydice that he composed music to express the emptiness of his life without her. In desperation, he descended to the underworld to beg for her. Many had approached Hades to beg for loved ones back and all had been denied.

But Orpheus' music softened the hard heart of Hades himself. Hades gave his permission to Orpheus to bring Eurydice back to the world of light with only one condition: Orpheus must not look back as he ascended. He must trust that Eurydice followed him. The journey back was long and difficult and as he glimpsed the light, he turned and looked behind him. Eurydice fell back into the Underworld.

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One day when Adonis hunted alone, his spear only wounded a mighty boar who then gored Adonis with his tusks. Aphrodite heard his cries. The dark blood flowed down his skin and his eyes grew heavy. She kissed him as he died. The red anemone, or windflower, sprang from the blood-soaked ground.

Aphrodite and Adonis

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Aphrodite fell in love with Adonis when she saw his beauty at his birth. She sent him to Persephone to care for him but Persephone fell in love with him and kept him from Aphrodite. Zeus decreed that Adonis would spend half of each year with Aphrodite and the other with Persephone. Adonis loved to hunt with Aphrodite. She would dress as a huntress as he drove her swan-chariot through the woodlands. One day when Adonis hunted alone, his spear only wounded a mighty boar who then gored Adonis with his tusks. Aphrodite heard his cries. The dark blood flowed down his skin and his eyes grew heavy. She kissed him as he died. The red anemone, or windflower, sprang from the blood-soaked ground.

Selene and Endymion, an Edmund Dulac illustration to Gods and Mortals in Love. The Titan pantheon predates the Olympians and its goddess of the moon was Selene.  Selene fell in love with the mortal Endymion's beauty as he slept. She begged Zeus to put him into an eternal sleep where he remained ageless and beautiful forever.  Every night, she visited him where he slept. Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters.

Selene and Endymion

The Titan pantheon predates the Olympians and its goddess of the moon was Selene. Selene fell in love with the mortal Endymion's beauty as he slept. She begged Zeus to put him into an eternal sleep where he remained ageless and beautiful forever. Every night, she visited him where he slept. Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters.

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

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Persephone was the Daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Her name Kore (Greek for 'the girl') was often used to stress her relation to her mother, the grain-goddess Demeter. The Romans called her Proserpina. Hades (Roman Pluto) was the son of Chronos and Rhea and ruled the Underworld and all of its denizens.  He was one of the three rules of the world, with Poseidon who ruled the oceans and Zeus who ruled the sky.
One day, Persephone was picking flowers in a meadow.  Pluto (Hades) abducted her and carried her back to the Underworld. Demeter discovered that her daughter was missing and went searching for her. Not finding her, she grieved and withdrew her blessings from the earth, which caused all plants to wither and die. The peoples of the world starved and called to the gods.  Zeus attempted to intervene but Demeter would not listen.  Zeus sent Hermes to the Underworld to ask for Persephone's release. Hades agreed, but first he tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds which would trap her in the Underworld forever. An agreement was then made that Persephone would spend half of the year in the Underworld with her new husband Hades, and rest with her mother Demeter. When Persephone is in the Underworld, Demeter grieves and the we know this as winter.

Pluto and Persephone

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Persephone was the Daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Her name Kore (Greek for "the girl") was often used to stress her relation to her mother, the grain-goddess Demeter. The Romans called her Proserpina. Hades (Roman Pluto) was the son of Chronos and Rhea and ruled the Underworld and all of its denizens. He was one of the three rules of the world, with Poseidon who ruled the oceans and Zeus who ruled the sky.

One day, Persephone was picking flowers in a meadow. Pluto (Hades) abducted her and carried her back to the Underworld. Demeter discovered that her daughter was missing and went searching for her. Not finding her, she grieved and withdrew her blessings from the earth, which caused all plants to wither and die. The peoples of the world starved and called to the gods. Zeus attempted to intervene but Demeter would not listen. Zeus sent Hermes to the Underworld to ask for Persephone's release. Hades agreed, but first he tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds which would trap her in the Underworld forever. An agreement was then made that Persephone would spend half of the year in the Underworld with her new husband Hades, and rest with her mother Demeter. When Persephone is in the Underworld, Demeter grieves and the we know this as winter.

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Psyche and Cerberus, Edmund Dulac, Gods and Mortals in Love

Psyche and Cerberus

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

After Psyche had betrayed her promise to Cupid, she went to his mother, Aphrodite, who set her three tasks. For the last task, Aphrodite gave her a box and told her to go to the Underworld and bring back some of Persephone's beauty cream. Cupid wanted Psyche to success and brought her two gold coins and six honey cakes. He warned her not to stop for any reason and to eat nothing. "Tell no one you are from the land of the living."

Psyche had learned her lesson and did as she was told. She gave one gold coin to the Charon, the ferryman, to carry her across the river Styx to the land of the dead. To the three-headed dog Cerberus who guarded the entrance to the Underworld, she gave the three honey cakes. Persephone agreed to fill the box with beauty. Psyche ate nothing and set about returning home, giving Cerberus the remaining honey cakes and Charon the last coin. When she returned to the land of the living, she thought to open the box so she might take some of Persephone's beauty so Cupid would love her. She opened the box slowly and fell down as if dead.

Cupid discovered her lying there and kissed the death from her lips. Cupid flew her to meet Zeus, who made Psyche immortal and she and Cupid were reunited forever.

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Perseus rescues Andromeda from the sea monster. Edmund Dulac art print from the illustrations to Gods and Mortals in love.

Perseus and Andromeda

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Cassiopeia, Queen of the Ethiopians, was so proud of her beauty that she dared to compare herself to the Sea-Nymphs. The indignant Sea-Nymphs sent a sea-monster to ravage the coast. Her husand, King Cepheus was told by the oracle to sacrifice his daughter Andromeda to the monster. Perseus beheld Andromeda chained to a rock, waiting for the serpent to seal her fate. Had it not been for her tears and her hair that moved with the breeze, he would have taken her for a marble statue.

He asked her, "O virgin, undeserving of those chains, but rather of such as bind fond lovers together, tell me, I beseech you, your name, and the name of your country, and why you are thus bound." Andromeda, silent from modesty, did not answer at once, but Perseus persisted. At last, she reaveled her name and that of her country, and told the tale of her mother's pride. While she was talking, the sea-monster appeared, his head reared above the waters, breaking the waves with his breast. Andromeda cried out. Then Perseus spoke, "There will be time enough for tears; this hour is all we have for rescue. ".

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After Herakles had served his three years in slavery, he returned to marry Deianeira, a tall woman of the mountains. She looked like a priestess, but also like a woman who could cheer camps of men with her counsel, her bravery, and her good companionship; her hair was very dark and she had dark eyes.   Herakles wed Deianeira, and they set out for Tiryns. Unable to carry Deianeira across a mighty river, he enlisted the aid of the centaur Nessos.  Upon hearing Deianeira's screams, Herakles shot arrows into the centaur's body.

Herakles and Deianeira

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

After Herakles had served his three years in slavery, he returned to marry Deianeira, a tall woman of the mountains. She looked like a priestess, but also like a woman who could cheer camps of men with her counsel, her bravery, and her good companionship; her hair was very dark and she had dark eyes. Herakles wed Deianeira, and they set out for Tiryns.

They came to the River Evenos. Herakles could have crossed the river by himself, but could not cross carrying Deianeira. He and she went along the river looking for a ferry to take them across, when they had sight of the Centaur Nessos. The Centaur spoke to Herakles as if a friend. He would, he said, carry Herakles's bride across the river.

Across the river, Herakles heard the screams of his Deianeira. He shot arrow after arrow in Nessos's body. The Centaur abandoned his hold on Deianeira and lay down on the bank of the river, his lifeblood streaming from him.

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Pan fell in love with the nymph Syrinx, who had until then eluded the pursuit of both gods and satyrs. The nymphs of the river heard her prayers and turned her into marsh reeds.

Pan and Syrinx

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Pan fell in love with the nymph Syrinx, who had until then eluded the pursuit of both gods and satyrs. Syrinx disdained Pan, who was neither man nor goat, and spurned his love and prayers. Pan pursued her, but she reached the stream of the river Ladon, she was unable to escape. Synrinx she asked to the nymphs of the river to disguise her. The nymphs granted her prayers, turned her into marsh reeds.

When Pan wished to hold her, there were only the reeds and the sound which the air produced in them. On hearing it, Pan was charmed, and thinking of the nymph, said to himself in triumph, "This converse, at least, shall I have with you."

Joining reeds of different sizes, he invented the musical instrument that was named syrinx after her, or sometimes Pan flute, after Pan himself.

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Medea helps Jason and he wins the golden fleece. Edmund Dulac art print from the illustrations to Gods and Mortals in love.

Jason and Medea

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Medea was a powerful witch. She fell in love with Jason and promised to help him, but only on the condition that if he succeeded, he would take her with him and marry her. Jason agreed. Aeëtes promised to give him the golden fleece, on the condition that he perform certain tasks. In the first task, Jason had to plough a field with fire-breathing oxen that he had to yoke himself.

Medea gave him an potion with which to anoint himself and his weapons, to protect him from the bulls' fiery breath. Then, Jason had to sow the teeth of a dragon in the ploughed field (compare the myth of Cadmus). The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Jason was forewarned by Medea, however, and knew to throw a rock into the crowd. Unable to determine where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated each other. Finally, Aeëtes made Jason fight and kill the sleepless dragon that guarded the fleece. Medea put the beast to sleep with her narcotic herbs. Jason then took the fleece and sailed away with Medea, as he had promised.

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