Daedalus devised a hollow wooden cow

A minotaur is a legendary half-creature.

The Minotaur by  George Frederic Watts   1817-1904 by you.

George Frederic Watts‘s The Minotaur

George Frederic Watts paints The Minotaur in 1885[1].

In 1898 Klimt contributed the poster “Theseus and the Minotaur[2] to the first Vienna Secession group exhibition, a poster rich in symbolic meaning. The fig-leaf was deliberately missing, which caused some controversy.

The Minotaur creature was the offspring of a certain Queen Pasiphae and a white bull. The myth goes thus: after one of Poseidon‘s angry spells which caused Pasiphae to be overcome with a fit of madness in which she fell in love with the bull, Pasiphae went to Daedalus for assistance, and Daedalus devised a way for her to satisfy her passions. He constructed a hollow wooden cow covered with cowhide for Pasiphae to hide in and allow the bull to mount her. The result of this union was the Minotaur.

Looking for more minotaurs brings up Michael Parkes‘s one[3].

Update: a wikified comment by Paul Rumsey.

Watts was inspired to paint this picture by reading “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon” by William Thomas Stead. The tiny bird crushed in the hand of the minotaur is symbolic of the child prostitute.

Update: Last night, before falling asleep the image of the below VHS cover sprang to mind.

The Coming of Sin (1978) by Spanish Eurotrash director José Ramón Larraz. The cover of the VHS echoes the union of Pasiphaë and the bull that produced the Minotaur.

The Coming of Sin (1978)  José Ramón Larraz

6 thoughts on “Daedalus devised a hollow wooden cow

  1. Paul Rumsey

    Watts was inspired to paint this picture by reading “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon” by W. T. Stead. The tiny bird crushed in the hand of the Minotaur is symbolic of the child prostitute.

  2. jahsonic

    Thanks Paul! I’ve added your comment to the post. Your comment was actually how I found The Minotaur when researching erotic memoirs:

    From my wiki:

    and the symbolic figure of “The Minotaur of London” confirmed European observers worst imaginings about “Le vice anglais” and inspired erotic writers to write of similar scenes set in London or involving sadistic English gentlemen. Such writers include D’Annunzio in Il Piacere, Paul-Jean Toulet in Monsieur de Paur (1898), Octave Mirbeau in Jardin des Supplices (1899) and Jean Lorrain in Monsieur de Phocas (1901).

  3. Paul Rumsey

    The Minotaur picture has been a favourite since I was a child, – I was given a set of old art books,- Titian, Watts, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Leighton. (I thought that they were all Old Masters, I didn’t realise that only Titian was old)
    I have also known about W. T. Stead since I was a child.
    We were visited by an old aunt from Brighton. She told us tales about W.T. Stead, that he was some kind of relative (or close friend) of the family. She said that he was involved in spiritualism, seances, and trying to take photographs of ghosts, and that he wrote books about it.
    The last book he wrote contained all sorts of revelations (given him by a medium?) that involved (I think she said) ghosts going into space to live on Mars.
    She said that he wanted to have this book published as fact, but could not get it published as fact in England, but he could in America.
    So he set off to America on the Titanic.
    My aunt said that he had a premonition that he would not make it to America, and had given her a copy of this manuscript and told her that if “something happened” to him she should post it to an address in Wales.
    This she did. She wrote to check that it had arrived but had no reply.
    So what happened to Stead’s last book? Was it lost in the post? Is his copy in a safe on the Titanic?
    I had forgotten all about my aunt and Stead until, years later, I was talking to a friend at college. He told me he had been to Brighton to see his grandmother and she had told him about some strange relative called W.T. Stead who had gone down on the Titanic. Did this mean that I was somehow related to my college friend?……………….

  4. Paul Rumsey

    I went looking for information on Stead and found this website which has extracts from his writings from both before and after his death (via mediums)
    This is what he found on the “other side”……..


    and this is his journal from Jan 20th 1889 (on sex and children)


    The last line amused me…..

    I will set forth simply what has taken place. I have from the birth of Willie practised simple syringing with water. Of late always withdrawal. We never used anything but this. Intercourse limited to twice a week, and withdrawal taking place just before the supreme moment, never did me any harm. The pleasure I think is rather greater than when the emission takes place in the natural way. If thrice or four times in the week I got deaf with apparent wax formation in the right ear.

  5. jahsonic

    Very amusing yes! I completed Stead’s version on my wiki, which also briefly mentions the spirtualism issue which references attackingthedevil.

  6. Pingback: RIP José Ramón Larraz | Jahsonic

Comments are closed.