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Alexandra Ermolaeff

Pilgrimage to Cythera

In Western culture Kythera is connected to a literary archive of idealised representations of the feminine, exotic, beautiful and desirable. This connection finds its origin in ancient Greek mythology, where Kythera is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of desire and beauty.

The ‘Journey to Kythera’ is a passage that has appeared allegorically in the visual arts, a case in point Jean-Antoine Watteau’s seminal oil paintings 'The Embarkation for Cythera' (1717, Musee du Louvre, Paris) and 'Pilgrimage to Cythera' (Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin). These paintings depict travelers embarking on a journey to Kythera. Here, Kythera via Aphrodite is imbued with characteristics of the goddess in the Western imagination. Kythera is not depicted but remains an idealized destination, an imagined paradise on earth.

Watteau, Jean-Antoine
Pilgrimage to Cythera
Oil on canvas
129 x 194 cm
Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin Pilgrimage to Cythera - pilgrimage

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