Ophelia (art) - digital painting of a doll by Barbara Agreste

Blue Mermaid

Blue Mermaid Drawing, pastels on acid free paper by Barbara Agreste.

Pastels on
acid free paper

24 x 35 cm

Blue Mermaid

A mermaid (Blue Mermaid) is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide.

The first stories about Mermaids appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions Mermaids can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

Mermaids are associated with the mythological Greek sirens as well as with sirenia, a biological order comprising dugongs and manatees. Some of the historical sightings by sailors may have been misunderstood encounters with these aquatic mammals. Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids while exploring the Caribbean, and sightings have been reported in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, Israel and Zimbabwe.

Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries, such as in Hans Christian Andersen‘s well-known fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” (1836). They have subsequently been depicted in operas, paintings, books, films and comics.

This is a drawing inspired by a siren, in one of Christian Andersen’s fairy tale books during my childhood I once saw an illustration of this wonderful creature with long hair and a fish tale: that day this picture filled my imagination about a world of love, enchantment, and pain. By looking at that image in the book I discovered what a grown woman would look like when heartbroken, wronged or estranged from a place of attachment: aware of belonging to a different world, the Mermaid wanted to transform herself, and be able to walk on two feet so that she could live in the world of humans and stay forever with her lover. The siren’s mood in that image was dramatic, sad, and awfully desperate, because she eventually knew that she would have to go back to live in the sea. That powerful and almost scary illustration touched my soul ever since, mostly because it unveiled the strong subjectivity and the power, even the harmful potential of this character, and with it I came to know an aspect of the human soul that I would certainly host within myself, at a certain time or in peculiar situations when I’d grow older.
This drawing of a Mermaid I created, focuses on the blue tone of her skin which is reminding us of the colour of the sea water: this creature would reflect and irradiate the blue light coming from that obscure, deep, and unknown place she once belonged to, and from which she could not be separated. It is arguable that because she is part of a very symbiotic “aquatic” environment, when separated from love, attachment and desire for oneness with the different creatures of the world, she develops such difficulty in understanding it, and such grief. But her grief reflects our grief.

Blue Mermaid

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Dolls - Ophelia (art, paintings) series by Barbara Agreste