Ms. Dr. Mieke Zilverberg
Muse’s still exist, they are everywhere.
And they travel in us and with us, in all time.
This exhibition of the Muse by Peter Peereboom shows that even the Muse of Ancient Greece is still very intriguing and capable of capturing the imagination of people in the 21stcentury.
In Greek mythology there were nine Muses, all daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne/Memory, and sisters of Apollo, god of music, singing, and poetry.They were worshipped as Greek goddesses of art and science. Not only were they the inspirational force for actors, singers, dancers and musicians, but also incited the study of philosophy, history and astronomy.
Homer, the most renowned all of all Greek poets, was also the first person in the world to invoke his Muse in the first verses of his Odyssey: ’…Andra moi ennepe, Mousa… (Tell me, Muse…) the story about the man (Odyssey) who… and in his last volume all the nine Muses raised their wonderful voices in order to sing the dirge and mourn the death of their hero, Achilles.
Another ancient Greek epic poet from the 8th century BC, Hesiod, contemporary of Homer, gives us the names of the Muses and by endowing them with various attributes it becomes clear in what field of art and science each of them excelled.
‘…Such is the holy gift of the Muses to man…’ (Theogony 93)
The role of the Muse in antiquity mainly took place in the mind of mankind. Spiritual power and mental inspiration equaled breath and air; ‘breathing in’ such inspiring forces would enable mankind to rise above the reality of his existence, add uniqueness to his special identity, thus making life extremely valuable.
of the Muse, from the past it is therefore not surprising that there are not many depictions of the Muses about this from antiquity. But we do have some idea of what they must have looked like. We know paintings of Muses on Greek vases, depictions in mosaics and also from some large marble and smaller terracotta images from Greek and Roman sculpture.
Muses are usually depicted as young female persons dressed in long robes, always holding an attribute of ‘their specialization’ in their hands, such as a lyre, a scroll, a (double) flute or celestial globe.
She will start her journey at the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens to pay tribute to the famous goddess Athena. She will then visit many museums in various countries, which is where she really belongs since the word ‘museum’ is derived from the Greek ‘mouseion’, ‘a temple to worship the Muses’.