Do you believe your personality is mapped out in the stars? Read below to check if your zodiac sign rings true and see which artist shares your temperament.
First, some background info…
Over the course of history every civilization from the Egyptians to the staunchly-Catholic Middle Ages considered astrology to be a legitimate scientific pursuit.
Western astrology is believed to have been founded by Ptolemy, an Egyptian astronomer in the 2nd century, with the release of his extensive manuscript on ancient astrology entitled The Tetrabiblos or “Four Books.” Ptolemy’s theory of the earth as the fixed center of the universe stood firm for over a millennium and was even an accepted doctrine of the Catholic Church, until Copernicus and Galileo presented the sun-centered system in its place in the 17th century.
Artists and Their Zodiacs Revealed
Symbolized by the ram, an animal known for great courage, Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac which begins at the Spring Equinox. Aries arises from the Greek myth whereby the King of Thessaly’s children, upon being abused by their stepmother, were rescued by a ram with a golden fleece.
Prized for its strength and stamina the bull represents Taurus, the second sign of the Zodiac. According to Greek mythology, Zeus fell in love with Princess Europa and, disguised as a white bull, he took her to Crete and made her his mistress.
John James Audubon, in his commitment to his life’s work of studying all species of American birds, exhibited Taurian dedication and patience. Salvador Dali, on the other side of the Taurian coin, was well known for his strong opinions and stubborn streak.
Geminis are often associated with storytellers, communicators and youth. They are also represented by twins brothers Castor and Pollux who, in Greek mythology, were hatched from the egg of their mother Leda following her seduction by Zeus disguised as a swan.
Albrecht Durer’s reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance period, reinforced by his work in the principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions, is a testament to his Gemini traits of adaptability, intelligence and restlessness.
The fourth sign of the Zodiac, Cancer, derives from the Latin word for “crab.” In Greek mythology the crab was sent to distract Hercules during his fight with Hydra, and when Hercules crushed the crab with his foot it was placed among the stars as a reward for its sacrifice. Cancer is known as peacemaker in the Zodiac. Cancerians are very cautious and intuitive and although their sensitivity can make them highly aggressive, they are an imaginative and creative group.
In a very Cancerian way, James McNeill Whistler’s subtle and delicate paintings stand in contrast to his combative public persona.
Also known as the Sign of the King, Leos are considered the most dominant, creative and extroverted of all the signs. Leo’s symbolism is derived from the lion Hercules wrestled to death and then used as body protection against his fight with Hydra. Born leaders they are either in support of, or in revolt against, the status quo.
American painter Thomas Eakins, with his leadership qualities and his devoted support of the new art form of photography, exhibited the best traits of a Leo. His patronizing nature and inflated sense of self also exhibited, however, the worst.
Virgo is the sixth sign of the Zodiac and is represented by a virgin, often holding sheaves of wheat or an ear of corn, emphasizing her role as a goddess of fertility and agriculture. The only zodiac sign to be represented by a female, Virgos are thought to have an intelligent and controlled manner, but one that is also driven by perfectionism.
Jacques Louis David’s deliberate, controlled and linear neoclassical paintings such as the Oath of the Horatii and the Death of Marat exemplify Virgo qualities.
The name Libra literally translates to “weighing scales” in Latin. Its main association is that of justice, the scales therefore symbolize balance and equilibrium. Libras are usually diplomatic and charming but warrant elements of indecisiveness and self-indulgence.
A true libra, American historical illustrator Frederic Remington’s larger than life personality gained him access to a large social network; he counted Theodore Roosevelt as a lifelong friend. His tendency to overindulge and become portly later in life rounds out his libran tendencies.
Scorpio is associated with beginnings and endings. The scorpion comes from the Ancient Greek myth about the scorpion who finally killed the great hunter, Orion. Scorpios are considered to be emotionally reserved, observant, and usually powerful figures but they can also be obsessive. It is often alleged that there is a Scorpio curse, which has been blamed for the misfortune and violent deaths of many notable figures, including Marie Antoinette, Charles I of England and Captain James Cook.
Pablo Picasso’s intense personal life with many marriages (and affairs) and his highly introspective, emotional and prolific body of work are indicative of his Scorpio nature.
The ninth sign of the Zodiac, Sagittarius is identified as a hunting centaur (half human, half horse). This sign signifies the search for truth and knowledge, as well as a constant pursuit of adventure and new ideas. Sagittarians are considered to be spontaneous and enthusiastic, but also notoriously unlucky in relationships and can be restless or risk takers.
Capricorn is traditionally depicted as a goat with a fish’s tail (a “Seagoat”), stemming from the myth of Pan, a goat-god attacked by Typhon and driven into the Nile; with its parts above water remaining goat but those under water transformed into fish. Capricorns are ambitious and their lives are marked by a purposeful pursuit of their destiny.
As a child, Henri Matisse decided to become an artist, with his extremely successful career spanning over a half-century. Negative traits include being greedy and overcritical. Matisse was known to be in debt due to his insatiable need to own works from artists he admired.
Linked to Ganymede, the beautiful youth whom Zeus fell in love with and carried off to Olympus to be ‘cup-bearer’ to the gods, Aquarius has also been attributed to the pourer of the waters in the ancient Greek version of the Great Flood. Positive traits for those born under this sign include honesty, popularity and creativity, unfortunately they are also plagued with inefficiency and hesitancy.
Abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, an aquarian, enjoyed incredible fame and notoriety during his lifetime for his groundbreaking “drip” method, but also battled personal demons that abruptly cut his career, and life, short.
Pisces is the twelfth sign of the Zodiac and represented by the fish that Aphrodite and Eros transformed into while escaping the monster Typhon. People born under this sign are often regarded as psychic, able to read your true intentions simply by studying your gestures and body language, and they will trust actions more than words. Pisces are ambitious, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but they can be easily irritated and insensitive towards others.
Michelangelo exhibited true piscean nature with his extraordinary understanding of human anatomy and movement. He was also known to have exacted revenge on several enemies by painting them in the hell scene of the Last Judgment.
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Astrology – view more images in the Bridgeman archive
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