The birth of Icarus
Giovanna Ferrari

The birth of Icarus



“The birth of Icarus” - 60’’x 48’’ - Mixed Media on Canvas The Greek myth of Icarus is widely known as a metaphor that signifies inescapable death when trying to fly too high, trying becoming one with God or acting God-like, infallible, omnipotent, wrapped in one’s inebriating human delusion created by power. According to the myth, Icarus escapes the labyrinth he is trapped in by constructing wings made of wax and feathers in order to fly above and out of the complex maze; however, during his escape, he flies too close to the sun, melting his wax wings and inevitably falls into the ocean and drowns. Icarus dies because he ignores his father’s advice to maintain an even course between the heavens and the sea and instead tries to transcend his father by becoming symbolically linked to the sun, which represents God or the ultimate father. In my painting, The Birth of Icarus, I have transformed the father into the mother. In the painting, what is perceived to be Icarus’s melting wings is actually the mother’s womb melting in the act of giving birth to the son. During his birth, Icarus separates from the mother as he falls out of the womb thus enacting the first trauma of human existence and becomes his own entity. This new Icarus develops his own identity out of the trauma of abruptly separating from the mother. Through this sudden exit from the womb’s protected environment, and by the realization that he will never be joined or be one with the mother again, Icarus is reborn and he transforms into a new man. Artist: Giovanna Ferrari