Monday, 4 August 2014

#makeaneffortmonday Mythological symbols in contemporary culture

Time for my post of the week that takes a bit more thought than your average review. This week I want to look at mythology and deities(particularly Greek mythology) and how symbolism used in mythology has seeped into contemporary culture in such a discreet way that we don't even notice. 

Dolce&Gabbana's womenswear catwalk for Spring/Summer 2014 kicked off this trend with a Greek inspired collection featuring photographic prints of temples and statues. 

Image C/O

As a follow on from this the Autumn/Winter 2014 Catwalks included a development of this Greek trend. Karen Walker's collection shown at New York included prints inspired by Greek Gods in Ancient pottery; Antipodium provided a move on from the D&G collection with limbless Greek sculptures. Designers such as Isabel Marant and Sass&Bide continued this Greek theme by referencing the decorative elements of ancient pottery which often depicted mythologoical creatures.

Taken from my previous blog post: 

The imagery in the design collections above are fairly obvious examples of contemporary culture referencing Greek mythology, but there are so may more discreet mythology related images. Car brand logos, for example, seem to make subtle references towards mythological creatures and gods.

Vauxhall- The vauxhall logo features a Griffin holding a flag. A Griffin is a mythological hybrid of a lion and an eagle,unknown origin as it seems to be a consistent feature in myths cross the globe. 

Saab- A mythical birds head features in this logo. Taken from the Swedish coat of arms of the company's founder(Count Von Skane).

Abarth- Carl Abarth used his astrological sign Scorpio as the logo for his car brand.

Mazda- The name comes from Ahura Mazda, the god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony in early Asian civilizations.

Volkswagen Phaeton- In Greek mythology Phaeton was the son of Apollo(the God responsible for carrying the sun across the sky with his chariot). One day Phaeton insisted on driving the sun chariot and, after almost crashing and burning the earth to a crisp, was killed by one of Zeus' many thunderbolts. 

Maserati-The Maserati logo is another marque that takes its design from the town of its manufacture, Bologna, Italy. The trident is part of a well-known sculpture in the centre of town.

Subaru- According to Greek mythology, the six stars show in the Subaru logo were once Atlas' daughters. 

Pandora- Pandora, as Greek mythology states, was the first human woman created by the Gods. She also made the unfortunate decision in a moment of curiosity to open a jar(box) releasing all the evils of humanity into the world.

Hermes- Greek god of transitions and boundaries; moving between the mortal and the divine.

Trojan- Trojan horse tale from the Ancient Trojan war.

Amazon- A nation of female warriors in Greek mythology.

Nike- Greek goddess personifying victory.

Apollo-Greek god of light, truth, prophecy, healing plus many more.

Argos- Argos was believed to be the birthplace of Perseus, a character in Greek mythology.

Starbucks- The infamous Starbucks logo is dominated by the siren with two fish tails in the centre. In Greek mythology Sirens were responsible for luring sailors to their deaths by enticing them with their beauty and musical prowess.

Apple- Depending on your religion and your opinion of the bible, the apple logo is a product of the biblical tale of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The Apple represents the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.

Trident- A 3 pronged spear carried by Poseidon/Neptune the God of the sea in Ancient mythology.

Caduceus- Used for medical institutions across the globe, this symbol actually derives from the staff of Mercury, the Roman God of financial gain, luck and trickery. It is generally accepted that this is because of a misunderstanding between the caduceus and the rod of Asclepius, the Ancient Greek God of medicine and healing. 

In recent years even films have been drawing inspiration from mythology and folklore. It seems we have become fascinated with fantasy.

The above are just a few examples of how corporate logos have covert meanings and how symbols often derive from the antithesis of their contemporary associations. On reading back through this post I have realised how strong a presence images taken from Greek mythology have in our society. It is somewhat reminiscient of the film "My Big fat Greek wedding"'s a clip....

Well that's all for now, I hope you enjoyed my #makeaneffortmonday post. I'll hopefully make time for another post/review at some point this week :)

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