The White Goddess – Leucothea

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Leucothea – the White Goddess – oil on canvas 60x60cm

Here is painting 15/100 for 2013.  The story of Leucothea is a very interesting one.  She was once a mortal woman named Ino, sister of Semele who became a lover of Zeus.  Semele died when Zeus revealed his true nature to her, (at Hera’s hidden instigation, but that’s another story).  The baby Semele was carrying, who was to become the god Dionysus, was saved by Zeus, who completed the infant’s gestation by sewing him up in his thigh.  The baby was given to Ino to raise, but Hera was still on the case and sent Ino’s husband into a murderous rage.  Ino’s husband killed their elder son and Ino fled with her younger child, leaping off a cliff into the sea.  There she became Leucothea, a sea goddess, who aided sailors in times of distress.  She saved Odysseus after Poseidon had destroyed his raft by wrapping him in her bouyant white shawl.