LC: ACG - Office of Dean of Arts & Sciences Department
CM:Medea is Irene Baimas-Kiamos' portrait in 1962 of the Princess of Colchis and High Priestess of Hecate, who helped Jason secure the golden fleece, fled Iolcus to live with Jason in Corinth, and sacrificed her children with Jason to take revenge of him for the latter's adultery. Arguably Medea is one of the greatest femmes fatales in human history, and any attempt to represent her is by definition brave. Medea is associated with passion, power and violence. Baimas-Kiamos saw Melina Merkouri's performance of Medea on the Public Broadcasting Service - PBS, in which Merkouri gave a strong interpretation of Medea's role, reminiscent of Judith Anderson's performance. Inspired by Euripides, Baimas-Kiamos painted Medea larger than life in Massachusetts. Despite evading straightforward verbalization Baimas-Kiamos' Medea tells her story from the beginning. Medea presides at the center of the composition, supporting the golden fleece, which envelops her two children. Curved lines and concentric circles evoke the convoluted path Medea put herself into. As known, it is virtually impossible to know in advance how the thread of life is to unfold. Medea started off with good intention, before going over the line. For her passionate love for Jason, Medea allowed herself to be sucked into a vacuum. She sacrificed herself, by crossing the line of danger. The painting represents but a moment in the unfolding of a dancing scene, with Medea in the center, the children in her embrace before her and Jason eclipsing behind her. The movement of Medea's arms indicate the strife in her life. Despite his betrayal, Jason loved Medea and recognized her sacrifices. His feelings for her were blocked by the insidiousness of life. Eventually he was overwhelmed by the course of events, for which he was tragically responsible. Although having great power of endurance, Jason succumbed to the circumstances. The painting's palette is after colors found in Greece. The background colors of green and ochre indicate nature's predominance over life. The prevalence of deep red is evocative of Medea's royal descent.