William Blake Richmond: Hera in the House of Hephaistos

Hera in the House of Hephaistos: William Blake Richmond

William Blake Richmond was a renowned Neoclassical painter of the Victorian age in Britain who painted Hera in the House of Hephaistos around 1902. He paints an episode from Greek mythology here, as Hera, the queen of Olympus and wife of Zeus, is shown in the house of her son Hephaestus who was the god of fire and metalworking.

The episode seems to be drawn from the events after Hephaestus’ return to Olympus. Initially, Hera had banished her son from Olympus because she was disgusted by his deformed foot. To gain revenge on his mother, Hephaestus produced a throne for her that, as she sat on it, would not allow her to stand up. Then Dionysus, the god of revelry, tricked Hephaestus by getting him drunk and returned him to Olympus.

Here we can see Hera standing to the left observing the drunken Hephaestus asleep. This is the prelude to their reconciliation, as Hera was to arrange the marriage of Hephaestus and Aphrodite as a settlement.

The picture is painted in rich and bright gold and browns and bears a similarity to the Pre-Raphaelite taste for colors, as well as having a tightly structured and organized Neoclassical treatment of space.

William Blake Richmond’s Hera in the House of Hephaistos is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana, United States.

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