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. The Olympian Goddess Hera placed in an immortal, never-sleeping dragon to protect this secret garden.
There are many clues in this myth that suggest that the setup of this secret garden 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 garden – their sacred place – a stranger has wondered.
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