The Making of Delphi Apollo

The Making of Delphi Apollo

My homage to the mythology surrounding Apollo and Ancient Delphi is a labour of love. If I had worked it out on paper before painting, in the traditional method, I imagine it would have taken much less time to complete. Instead it is an organic painting that grew into what it is directly on the canvas. Details came to life through trial and error, with ongoing determination for correct proportion, access to new information and constant whispers from the Muses.

The painting initially took just over two years from 2006 to 2008 to construct. It was varnished too hastily (six months later) over thick oil paint, whereby it bubbled up in a number of places and was left, as such, hanging about at home for about nine years. I since moved on with other projects and different creative approaches.
After some international interest in the interim, most notably a request for use in a proposed documentary about Delphi for the Smithsonian Channel in 2016 (declined by me mainly due to in-completion), new knowledge of how exposed it was on browsers, specific academic interest and encouragement from viewers of the original piece; in late 2017 I sanded it back, treated the surface and started at it once again with fresh obsession and inspired seriousness about the content.

Almost everything has been revised. Including what I hope is a more historically accurate representation of the statues and friezes than I had previously applied. In short, roughly three years of painting work put into it.

The fascination for me started very young; when I discovered an intriguing illustrated segment on Delphi in a discarded and damp collection of old empirical Encyclopedia Britannica discarded in my father’s garden shed. The imaginative descriptions and old illustrations awakened Ancient Greece as the theme in me for many a daydream. Forgotten in teenage years.
Then, in my early 20’s a rather strange seer in London had some bizarre, though interesting things to say to me that instigated renewed intrigue. Yes, I was weary of this strange man, yet he was a wealthy old Iranian claiming the ability to see past lives in the service of London gentry, even royalty apparently and was not some ranting nutter brandishing a wrapped bottle. Approaching me after what seemed like very studious and unnerving observation, while I was covered in soot from working as a labourer hired in to demolish an old war bunker/then a disused coal shed, he asked me if Delphi meant anything to me … I was aware of it … then rapidly told me of some of my past deaths, for that was all he could see except Delphi, which he absolutely insisted I visit. This would not have made such an impact on me if the man were not lording it in Regent’s Park and his various other accurate and, impossible for him to learn, assumptions about my life and things that I had seen were accurate, in a creepy way, as this was years before the internet (In fact the internet can still not know these things about you).
Seed planted, in the 90’s I gave my daughter, Noa, the second name of Delphi. Just did. No deep reason. The name spoke to me. Later, in 2002 I finally made a pilgrimage there, which turned into a rather surreal excursion. A long story, somewhat giving credence to the Regents Park soothsayers message. All said, it is true that it was all in the minds. I returned there in July 2008 with Noa Delphi. This time with an informative tour. It was a different kind of special.

I would like to thank:
Dr Elena C. Partida, Archaeologist MA, PhD/Art Historian. Curator of Delphi Antiquities – Site and Museum – whom my daughter and I met in 2008, for her appreciation of the project and insight as to my aims, kind letters with invaluable information, supplements to the text and general encouragement towards accuracy. For assistance with both my first 2008 release and the latest 2018 version.
Nicky from the Hero internet translation forum for his assistance with how Gnothi Sauton and Meden Agan would have appeared in ancient Greek.
Anke, Antonia, Debby, Barbara, Daantje, Maya, Nanja, Pascale, Scarlet and Sudha for posing as my muses of reference.
Friends and family who were curious viewing motivators during it’s progression.
And the utmost respect to the many scholars, writers and craftsmen that were inspired to visualize The Pantheon or reconstruct Delphi before me.

Thank you for your interest.
Shaun Herron

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