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The tragic love story of Apollo and Hyacinth


The tragic Greek love story of Apollo and Hyacinth is a poetic gem that deals with the themes of love, envy, death, and rebirth, and is where the Hyacinth flower got it's name. My fascination with this story led me to paint the piece “Apollo et Hyacinthus.” I titled the piece after Mozart's first official opera of the same name, which he wrote at age 11. It was only performed once during his lifetime, and is based off of the same mythology surrounding the love story between Apollo and Hyacinth. The Story of Apollo and Hyacinth Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo. Apollo taught to his lover the use of bow, of music and the lyre, the art of prophecy and exercises in the gymnasium. Hyacinthus was also admired by Zephyrus, the West Wind, and according to varied versions, by Boreas and Thamyris. One day Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo's discus off course to kill Hyacinth.When Hyacinth died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. This flower, on whose petals Apollo had inscribed the words "AI AI" - "alas" was considered by the Greeks to be the most beautiful of all flowers. Sources: Gantz, Timothy (1993). Early Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Kerenyi, Karl (1959). The Heroes of the Greeks. New York/London: Thames and Hudson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinth_(mythology) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_et_Hyacinthus

©2019 by Kyle Ballentine