The four “E” Riddle

El enigma de las 4 e

The four “E” Riddle
by Pablo Lecroisey 2009.

Reinterpretation of the “Arachne Fable” by Diego Velázquez. 

Velázquez painting was interpreted in the 40′s of the last Century, based on the reading of “Metamorphosis” by Ovidio. Being a folkloric genre picture representing a scene in a spinning workshop it became a mythological painting, when María Luisa Caturla linked the canvas “Arachne’s Fable” with Velázquez work. The painting was in Mr. Pedro de Arce’s stock. He was an officer at the service of Philip IV.

Las hilanderas o la fábula de Aracne
Copyright de la imagen ©Museo Nacional del Prado

The matter or the work describes the moment in which Pallas Athena, patroness of all arts, was offended when Arachne, the maiden, boasting to be the best weaver of tapestries, dared to represent Zeus, gallant god, father of Athena, as a white bull kidnapping Europe.

Velázquez provides three levels in “The Spinners”. On the first, he highlights two female figures with a Michelangelo’s influence: Pallas Athena and Arachne. In the background, Athena is revealed with all her attributes of warrior goddess, punishing the maid, metamorphosing her into a spider.

The third level shows Arachne’s tapestry, based on Tiziano’s painting “The kidnapping of Europe”.

Into the symbolic interpretation of Pablo Lecroisey, the title invites us into the game of decipher the Four “E” Riddle: Sphere, Sword, Stairs and Spiral.

Athena was born directly from Zeus’s head with a dual character as a warrior goddess and protector of intelligent activity. The sphere is next to Athena as a world’s allegory of totality and perfection.

The sword, in its double symbology of justice and revenge, replaces the lance, which symbolizes command and high hierarchy.

The stairs symbolizes the relationship between terrestrial and upper worlds. Into “the Spinners”, the staircase links the world of the Olympian gods with mortal’s world.

The spiral, which is marked by the capture of the right-handed stairwell which turns as another Athena’s attribute, refers to creation, is the creative spiral.

In the interpretation of the photographer, it has rotated and inverted all the three levels of the image and it has altered the spatial Renaissance box. The staircase is still the common bond between the material and immaterial worlds.

In the upper level, the material space of “The Spinners” work, the spinning shop where Athena disguised as a young woman, shows her red shoe on the sphere, is arranged in a V-composition with Arachne, repeating the disposition of the painting.

At the bottom, on the depths of the stairs, Athena, dressed in white with a red flower in her hair and a sword in her hand, is angry with Arachne, dressed in black, with a white flower in her hair, turning her into a spider, according to the duel narration written by Ovid.

On the right side of the stairway, the kidnapping of Europe.

On the left side, the allegory of the good government, the maids, the sirens, watch the tenebrous exchange of money, reference of corruption, actual cause of bad government.

Text published in the blog “Ante vuestros ojos” for Carmen Dalmau.

The four “E” Riddle
The four “E” Riddle
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