Goats prefer happy people …
The child Bacchus, satyrs, nymphs, the plump old teacher Silenus and ... the goat
In Book III of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Bacchus was born from the union
of Semele and Zeus. To avoid Juno’s revenge, Hermes transforms
the baby into a goat by order of Zeus.
To escape Juno's revenge, the baby is transformed into a goat by Hermes
on Zeus' orders, then handed over to the nymphs a mount of Thrace,
Mount Nysa, a mysterious place where the Hyades nymphs raise
the young Bacchus.
The surroundings of Nysa ...
accompanied by the young satyrs and nymphs with whom he grew up,
the young god Bacchus rides in on a goat ...
Landscape with the Education of Bacchus
Paysage avec l’éducation de Bacchus
Getty Center, J. Paul Getty, Los Angeles
The goat-nymph Amaltheia …
Zeus. My childhood?
I was raised by Amalthea, who was either a magic goat or a nymph with a magic goat – I could never tell.
Amalthea got some dudes called the Kouretes to dance, clash their shields, and shout all day
so that my dad wouldn't hear little me crying.
According to classical mythology, Rhea, Jupiter's mother hid it
on Mount Ida in Crete to protect him from his father, Saturn,
the King of the Gods.
Saturn devoured his children as a prophecy had foretold
that one of his own sons would dethrone him.
On Crete, Jupiter was looked after by the nymphs Adrasteia and Io
and suckled by the goat-nymph Amaltheia
the top of Mount Ida ...
the genius of the river pouring its waters from her urn,
the nymph collecting the honey on which the infant god is fed,
he burly shepherd restrains the goat Amalthiea by its horns,
while a nymph lifts the goat to allow Jupiter to drink its milk
La Nourriture de Jupiter dit aussi L'Enfance de Jupiter
The Nurture of Jupiter
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Mount Ida in Crete ...
the nymph Adrasteia milks the goat Amalthea to feed the child Jupiter,
the satyr waves a branch to distract the child
The Childhood of Zeus
Jupiter enfant nourri par la chèvre Amalthée
Musée du Louvre, Paris
With legs of a goat …
The little goat-god's favorite pastimes include playing his pan flute, getting rip roaring drunk with his satyr buddies
at the Bacchanals of Dionysus, and trying to seduce any pretty young thing who comes his way.
The pastoral paradise of Arcadia, where one could lead a carefree life ...
The satyr here is presented as a shepherd of goats and sheep.
He looks up from playing his flute to smile at the viewer.
A chaotic woodland party ...
men and women dance, drink, play music (and invite us to join the party),
a statue of Pan, god of shepherds and herdsmen,
a tranquil landscape with distant blue mountains, Pan’s native land of
Arcadia in Greece
Le triomphe de Pan
The Triumph of Pan
National Gallery, London
… the goat-legged demigod who likes to spend time
talking to a Blackbird
Faun Whistling to a Blackbird
Faune sifflant avec un merle
Neue Pinakothek, Munich
The devil, the witch and ... the goat
In the Middle Ages, the goat was the favorite mount of witches and one of the devil's favorite forms.
Head with horns, feet cleft, often presented as an incarnation of Satan after having been in paganism
the animal consecrated to the god Pan, both lustful and “panic”.
As such he presides over the witches' sabbath.
Dressed in clerical clothing that may be a soutane,
the goat, who represents the Satan,
Satan preaches from a raised earth mound …
Francisco de Goya
Witches Sabbath or The Great He-Goat
Le Sabbat des sorcières ou le Grand Bouc
Museo del Prado, Madrid
A moonlit barren landscape,
a swarm of bats,
young and aged witches,
a goat, Devil, with large horns, and crowned by a wreath of oak leaves
Le Sabbat des sorcières
Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid
A witch riding a goat and brandishing a broomstick …
A Witches' Sabbath
Le sabbat des sorcières
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Humans and ... the goat
In natural scenery,
in pastoral scenes alongside goatherds and shepherds, symbolic of a carefree pastoral life …
clouds of dust filling the background,
the herd and herders visible against the deep blue sky
a row of “menons” black horned goats
Goats, animals smarter than sheep, understand the shepherd’s orders
and the sheep follow the goat or the billy goat.
The black goats in the foreground are menons (from the Provençal
"menar", to drive, to lead).
These are castrated goats widely used in the Rove region of Marseille
to guide herds of sheep.
Its black colors and long horns are easily identifiable.
Les menons en tête d’un troupeau en Camargue
Menons Heading a Flock in Camargue
Musée Granet, Aix en Provence
Bluish vistas fade beautifully into the distance under wide white skies,
farms and groups of houses
a goat straying among the slaty blue of his rocks
Saint Jérôme en pénitence, dans le désert
St Jerome in the Desert
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The ordered chaos of a large family
an goat …
Fragment of a monumental family portrait.
If the goat is a symbol of nurturing and joy, the horned male represents male fertility.
Perhaps a way to celebrate Mr. Van Campen's many offspring!
(the cloth merchant had at least a dozen children ...!)
Enfants de la famille van Campen avec une charrette tirée par un bouc
Three Children with a Goat Cart
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
A young shepherd’s awakening love for a shepherdess.
… goats also populate the idyllic world of happiness
Pensent-ils au raisin?
Are They Thinking about the Grape?
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Chagall and … the Goat
Empathetic and loving, omnipresent in Chagall's art
A hybrid half-woman half-goat figure dreamily contemplating the capital,
which is rendered a deep blue by the moonlight ....
a cockerel sings by his side, calling out to the approaching morning
whose arrival is announced by a golden bird
a lovingly entwined couple floats above the two animals.
Chagall manages to merge the traditional image of Paris with his own fantasy
through a reinterpretation of the figure of the Strix.
This character, symbolic of Notre Dame sits alongside the creature
which Chagall liked to include in his paintings.
Le Monstre de Notre-Dame
The Monsters of Notre-Dame
In Vitebsk there were lots of queer old fellows who played the violin
and told stories, and lots of goats.
Chagall's childhood memories are like stories.
And the storybook characters don't follow the laws of physics.
That's why they never die.
Le Vieillard et le Chevreau
The Old Man and the Goat
Gerard Bonnier Collection, Stockholm
The soft blue and grey background …
a fish and a table floats,
a man playing a clarinet and a man hanging,
a beautiful young woman dressed in a vibrant red gown
with a virginal white long veil holding a bouquet of flowers
a violin-playing goat …
Private collection, Japan
Notting Hill, (film) 1999
You like Chagall?
I do. It feels like how being in love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky.
With a goat playing the violin.
Yes, happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat.
Goats in European painting
La chèvre dans la peinture européenne
images and text credit www.
Music The Piano Guys Me and My Cello
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