Danae

Danae was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and Eurydice. She was the mother of Perseus by Zeus.

Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, Acrisius asked an oracle if this would change. The oracle told him he would be killed by his daughter's child, and so he did what any "thinking" father would do - he locked his daughter up in a tower with only her servant/nurse for company. But Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, and impregnated her. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.

None too happy, but unwilling to provoke the wrath of Zeus by killing his offspring, Acrisius cast the two into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon at the request of Zeus, and the pair survived. They washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys, the brother of King Polydectes, who raised the boy to manhood.

Later, after Perseus killed Medusa and rescued Andromeda, (See "The Rescue of Andromeda - News at 11:00")
the oracle's prophecy came true.

Inspired by the words of
Ginette Paris.

Based on Titian's Danae
"Shower of Gold"
Oil on canvas, 1553-1554
Private collection

How men use gold

In "Pagan Meditations - The worlds of Aphrodite, Artemis, and Hestia" (Spring Publications 1986) Ginette Paris describes the masculine (Apollo), and the feminine (Aphrodite), uses of gold. To be Aphrodisiacal, gold must be visible, and worn proudly for the pleasure of all - it attracts at a distance - it's beautiful and it's magical.

Under the influence of Apollo, it's dug out of the ground, melted into ingots, and hoarded in subterranean vaults. "Aphrodite would scarcely understand why, after extracting the gold from the earth with great difficulty, we should proceed to bury it again, in the name of economic rationality." But that is how most of the world's gold is used and Ginette describes it as "a pathology - a depressing perversion, symptomatic of spiritual degeneration".

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I'm creating two versions of Danae - one for the masculine and one for the feminine. This one is based on Titian's "Danae", which was created for Philip II in 1554. It represents the masculine use of gold. I'll be using Leon Francois Comerre's "Danae and the Shower of Gold" to representing the feminine use of gold.

I've used some of the historic Canadian banks buildings that surround that most Canadian of intersections, Portage and Main, to represent "economic rationality". Behind them is the Canadian Mint, also located in Winnipeg. The shower of gold consists of Maple Leaf one-ounce gold coins. Titian replaced Zeus with Philip's likeness in the shower of gold, and I've replaced Philip with George Washington from the American one dollar bill. Our economy is, after all, dominated by our neighbours to the south.

Soooo . . . if Danae is the personification of Canada, and Zeus is the personification of the USA, are we being (I'll keep it polite) seduced? Are we being bribed with our own resources? Or are we the ones doing the seducing - and living a safe and comfortable life as a result?

Canada geese can be seen flying south. I wonder what that means?


I chose Titian's Danae to represent the masculine because both Danae and her nurse look more masculine than feminine. Titian certainly knew how to paint the female form, and I've included his "Venus of Urbino", painted 16 years earlier, as an example. (See slide sequence below.)

So why has Danae been masculinized? Maybe Titian was annoyed, or angry, or not feeling appreciated. Maybe he thought that Philip didn't understand Southern Renaissance art. Maybe he was giving Phillip the finger. I don't know, but he had to have done it intentionally. And if it's good enough for Titian - it's good enough for me!

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