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The Legend of Arion | by Ali Bannister
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The Legend of Arion

A friend wanted to give something a bit different as a christening present to a little boy called, Arion, so I drew this for her based on the legend below:


Arion was a poet and singer from Methymnia on Lesbos at the end of the 7th/ beginning of 6th century BC. According to Herodotus he was the greatest kithara player of his time, as well as the inventor of the dithyrambs.


Nothing of Arion's work has survived, but there is a famous anecdote about him. His art made him very wealthy, and on a journey by sea he was attacked by the crew. He begged them to let him sing one last song before he was thrown overboard, which the bandits gladly accepted. He gave a last performance, and then jumped into the sea. His music had attracted dolphins though, and the friendly mammals carried him ashore.


(The dolphin and boy section of the drawing was done from the beautiful sculpture (Boy With a Dolphin) by Sir David Wynne which can be found in Chelsea, London. The boy featured in the artwork was modelled upon Sir David’s son; Roland David Amadeus Wynne (Roly for short) who was 11 years old at the time and later went on to play bass in a rock band known as Ozric Tentacles. Tragically, in 1999 at the age of 35, Roly committed suicide. Today, the beautiful, sweeping statue depicting him in more innocent times has been dedicated to Roly as a memorial.


UPDATE: There are actually three casts of this statue. The other two can be found in America; one on Chestnut Place Plaza, Worcester, Massachusetts and the other outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.


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Taken on November 29, 2007