From Olympia to Beijing

From Athens to Beijing
March 2, 2015
Henan Pavilion
February 28, 2015

From Olympia to Beijing

#08061     194×130 cm     畫布丙烯

Zeus, the father of Greek gods, had his temple in Olympia, so from 776 B.C. to 394 A.D., that is where the ancient Greek Olympic Games were held, as a religious rite to him, once every four years. This is also where the admirable “Sacred Truce” was generated, which allowed a period of peace among nations during the Games. Unfortunately, the Olympic Games were banned by Emperor Theodosius in 394 A.D., and the site became destroyed by wars, earthquakes, floods, etc. It wasn’t until 1771 that European archeologists began to excavate the site. In 1888, the ancient Olympic site was generally recovered, which stimulated the rebirth of the Olympic Games.   This painting by Dr. T.F. Chen is based on a marble duplicate of gorgeous copper sculpture of a “Disc Thrower” by Milon, a Greek sculptor of the fifth century B.C. The sculpture is really a masterpiece. At that time, ritual sports competitions were performed only by male athletes in the nude. The Greek were joyful, passionate, freedom-loving people who respected nature and considered it pure, noble and honorable to show a strong, beautiful body to the gods. Due to these attitudes and traditions, the Greek handed down a precious legacy of sculptural masterpieces gloriously depicting the ideal beauty of humans, gods and goddesses.   In this painting, we see the silhouette of Milon’s “Disc Thrower” bearing a mask from Beijing opera-an obvious expression of the ancient Greek Olympics coming to Beijing. On the upper right-hand side, appears the silhouette of the Temple of Heaven (“Tiantan) – the official symbol of Beijing-surrounded by the five colors of the Olympics: red, blue, yellow, green and black. In this way, Dr. T.F. Chen, the initiator and champion of “Neo-Iconography,” chose related “Icons” from both sides and juxtaposed them in a fresh,  new way to create a simple, interesting and meaningful image to express the Olympics in Beijing as well as an aspect of East-West convergence.