Mar 5 17 3:40 AM

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An anonymous reader tipped me about this oil painting by Michael Maschka. It depicts the hermaphrodite archetype expressing the gender duality of all human beings.


The painting is clearly inspired by alchemical prints. The alchemical processes of the Renaissance was more than attempts at producing gold. They were just as much a psychological processes whereby the alchemists tried to reconcile different sides of his own psyche. The alchemists therefore managed to develop a language and symbols that went beyond the gender binary, half a millennia ago.

In this painting the masculine side is represented by the sun (rationality), the sword (the phallus), and armour (violence for protection?).
The feminine side is represented with the moon (feelings and the life cycle), the chalice (vagina and birth), and the red stocking and shoe (sensuality and openness?).

Here is a Renaissance version of the same motive:


And here is a picture of Maschka working on the painting:


More about the artists here.