AI Art Adventures: Zeus and Ganymede

One of the more oddball Greek myths I am fascinated with is that of Zeus and Ganymede. It’s NSFW so buckle up, and like most Greek myths, differs according to who tells it. Basically, Ganymede was a comely youth who caught the eye of Zeus so Zeus kidnapped him in the form of an eagle, or sent his pet eagle, and carried him off to Olympus, where he served as Zeus’s cupbearer, ousting the maiden Hebe who had previously held the job. The NSFW aspect is that Zeus may have wanted Ganymede for more than holding his cup, it may have been for some man-boy carnal pleasure. Somewhat out of character for Zeus, who usually pursued women and nymphs. But it made for many fine classic art pictures in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Whether the painters and their patrons were aware of this aspect, who knows?

I decided to put a spin on it by altering another cheesy classic art picture, Walter Crane’s The Roll of Fate, and putting it through the Midjourney grinder. After many unholy mashups of eagle, Zeus, and youth, I came up with the fine one above, and the finer one below.  The top shows Zeus’s pet eagle standing guard and the bottom, Zeus transforming out of his eagle disguise — note the wings. Both show him accepting, rather tenderly, an oversized cup/chalice. Perhaps too oversized, but hey, he’s a god, with hearty appetites.

Ganymede, for his part, looks slightly traumatized in both paintings. In the second one, he’s like, “Whatever you say, Zeus.”

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