The Sacrifice of Kronos

Theodoros Stamos, The Sacrifice of Kronos, No. 2, 1948, Oil on hardboard, 48 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1949 © Estate of Theodoros Stamos, New York

Sacrifice of Kronos, No. 2 by Theodoros Stamos, along with his Sacrifice of Kronos and Saga of Ancient Alphabets (all on view in Ten Americans), allude to the interconnected realms of nature, myth, and ancient culture that figure prominently in Stamos’s art. Based on a Greek myth, Sacrifice of Kronos is inspired by the dramatic story of Kronos, king of the Titans, who consumes his children to prevent the fulfillment of a prophesy that one of them will grow up to usurp his throne. When his wife wraps a stone in clothing to fool Kronos into thinking it was their newborn son Zeus, Titan consumes the stone. Rather than showing the eventual fate of Titan dethroned by Zeus, Stamos evokes the moment of sacrifice with the presence of a fetal-like form trapped under the weight of the massive boulder. While more commanding in scale than works by Klee, Stamos’s painting, with its metaphorical allusions to broader themes of birth, death, power, and sacrifice, are reminiscent of Klee’s quest to uncover universal aspects of human experience.

This work is on view in Ten Americans: After Paul Klee through May 6, 2018.

The Artist Sees Differently: Roberto Alcaraz

Roberto Alcaraz, Museum Assistant and Sunday Concerts Assistant

Roberto Alcaraz on a break with his guitar. Photo: Joshua Navarro

How did you learn about the Phillips?

A cousin of mine, who was living here at the time, first mentioned it to me soon after my arrival in D.C. However, it did not take long for me to realize its importance in the cultural life of the city.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips art?

Yes. There is a wealth of great works that are really inspiring. Any collection that includes works by van Gogh, Klee, Morandi, Rothko, plus all the major impressionists, is bound to have works worth looking up to.

What do you listen to when you work on your photography?

Curiously, having a music background, I prefer not listening to music when I am in a darkroom doing prints. I try to focus on my task in hand with no distractions, if possible. Continue reading