Asclepius by Cary Ann Baade

From the artist: 

“I chose Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing; because of his identity is at once obscure yet his symbol ubiquitous in our contemporary society. You may be familiar with the caduceus (intertwined serpents on a pole) and have also seen the single pole or staff with one serpent; these symbols mark ambulances and are used by the medical profession. They would appear to be interchangeable, but the caduceus is the sigil of Hermes or Mercury and at some point since the turn of the 20th century, these symbols where used indiscriminately as the mark for the medical arts. My painting has Asclepius with his pharmakon, Medusa.In the legend, Athena gives Asclepius Medusa’s head; blood from right side of her head is a medicine that heals the sick and dead and blood from the left is a poison that kills. In this painting, he stands above hell, for it is said that he angered Hades by bringing back the dead, and from this chasm he is carrying this serpent aloft on his staff. The serpent is the anthropomorphized energy of healing, this energetic force that is medicine; I attempted to show it’s power to bring the ill and dying back to life.


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