“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.” ~Napoleon Hill
The story of Midas has been retold for centuries to warn children of the dangers of greed. In the myth, the great king wishes for the power to turn all that he touches into gold, and inadvertently loses the thing that he holds most dear as his daughter becomes a golden statue beneath his embrace. The myth actually did not inspire my original concept for this painting, but once I had finished, the allusion was so crystal clear that I couldn’t ignore it. As for my interpretation, the gold is climbing up her (well, my) neck as though it is about to suffocate
her me, creating a feeling of distress as the gold creeps closer to the mouth.
So, what’s up with the title? At first, I wanted the title to be the name of Midas’s daughter (which could be Aurelia, Zoe, or Marigold depending on which version you read). Then, as I reread the myth, I learned that all the gold created by Midas was dumped in a river and flowed downstream to the kingdom of Lydia, which became incredibly wealthy. The name Lydia stuck out to me because 1) it’s a girl’s name so I could keep the subtle reference to Midas’s daughter, and 2) Lydia is a nickname for Claudia. As I hinted above, I used myself as the model for the piece, making this my first semi-self portrait. I wouldn’t count it as a full self-portrait because I didn’t try too hard to keep the features exact and also because I didn’t look much like myself in the photo reference in the first place. Similarly, Lydia is close but not quite my name, thus it seemed like the perfect title.
The piece was an ominous portrayal of the future consequences of the vanity and materialism ailing our society. It is the first of many in a new series portraying the sources of fear and distress unique to each individual. I’m excited for this new line of inspiration!
PS: Interested in a print? Want to give me a “like”? Check the piece out here http://www.bluecanvas.com/art-detail/492281