As the frantic rush for the upcoming day of gluttony fasts approaches , I have turned to thoughts of Demeter, goddess of the Harvest.
Peter Paul Rubens
Demeter is best known for the horror of her loss, her beloved daughter Persephone swept to the underworld in a rage of Pluto’s lust. In her anguish, Demeter tears cause the world to chill, germinating seed wither within their husks, and man huddles hungry and fearful, at the mercy of his gods.
Vincenzo de Rossi
Of course this situation cannot continue, if the altar remain bare, will the gods continue to exist?
Worship provides the deities identity.
Like a marriage gone awry, Demeter and Pluto arrange visitation rights. Having tasted of the Fruit of the Dead, the pomegranate, Persephone will remain in Hades one month per kernel eaten.The Earth shall remain darkened by Demeter’s shroud of grief until this time has passed.
Upon release, Persephone back in the arms of devoted Demeter, seed will once again sprout, life will begin anew.
The Return of Persephone
Statue of Ceres
oil on wood
Peter Paul Rubens
Demeter, or her Roman equivalent have been a popular motif in fine and decorative arts. The allusions to bounty and the table too great a temptation.
17th cent., after 1652
after design by Michel Anguier
From bronze to porcelain her figure has delighted.
The Goddess Ceres
William Dueberg and Company
soft paste porcelain
I have a great fondness for the theme Without Bacchus and Ceres , Venus Grows Cold, the artist Hendrick Goltzius was particularly adept at depicting the scene; lewd and provocative, they still delight.
Perhaps more chaste, yet no less delightful, this calling card depicts our Goddess o’ Plenty.
pen and ink, red chalk on paper
Demeter continued to be a popular theme well into the 19th century as this staged image attests.
Guy Little Theatrical Photograph
As no Thanksgiving spread is complete without a gravy boat, I thought this little number would suit the theme.
lead glazed earthenware
Wishing everyone the bounty of the season,