“Monsters were one of the ways the upper class nobility and the clergy were able to maintain power and promote the ethical and moral teachings they wanted,” says Jennifer DePrizio, the museum’s director of interpretation.
Here’s the fact and fiction behind Siren, one of the works of art on display July 7-Oct. 6. clevelandart.org
Fiction: This female creature was believed to lure men to wreck their ships on craggy shores along a narrow trading route off the coast of Greece by playing enchanting music.
“The only person who ever made it through was Odysseus because he knew about it and had all his men shove wax into their ears,” says DePrizio.
Fact: With a bird-like body and hidden claws, the monster is depicted bare-breasted to showcase her seductive nature.
“Theologians were really trying to perpetuate this idea that women are the root of all evil in the world,” says DePrizio. “Whenever there’s a creature that’s deceptive, cunning and evil, 99 percent of the time it’s depicted as a woman.”
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July 2, 2019