“The Secret Garden” – Chalk on paper – 65 x 50 cm – 2018
A favourite theme of classical and neoclassical painters was the Garden of the Hesperides, a mythical orchard where an apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden apples. The Hesperides were beautiful nymphs who were given the task of tending to the grove. Hera placed in the garden an immortal, never-sleeping dragon.
There are many clues in this myth that suggest that it is a disguised reference to the Pole star or Polaris. The golden apples being the stars of the sky and the dragon the constellation of Draco that surrounds Polaris.
Oddly, many heroes of various cultures have attempted to steal these golden apples including Loki from Norse mythology and Hercules/Heracles from Greek mythology.
Due to the timeless appeal of the subject and its symbolic nature I felt drawn to make my own rendition of this myth. Here I have tried to emphasize the vulnerability of the nymphs into whose secret and sacred place a stranger has wondered.