The fall of Icarus. Odilon Redon. ND. The Rothschild Art Foundation.
THE FLIGHT OF DAEDELUS AND ICARUS
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The Second Coming,
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), poet and dramatist
Daedalus was an architect and master craftsman who constructed a hollow cow so that the Queen of Crete could mate with Poseidon's white bull. From that union the monstrous Minotaur, half-man and half-bull, was born. The ruler of Crete, King Minos, then commanded that Daedalus construct the Labyrinth to secure the dangerous beast.
Many years later, the hero Theseus came to Crete to slay the Minotaur. Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, assisted him by providing a golden thread which he tied to the entrance of the maze. After Theseus killed the Minotaur, he followed the thread back to the entrance and then he and Ariadne fled together.
King Minos was so furious about the loss of Ariadne that he imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus inside the Labyrinth. However, Daedalus was able to find his way back out. He then fashioned wings out of feathers and wax so that he and Icarus could flee from the island by air.
Just before they departed, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun; however, Icarus was so intoxicated by the experience of flight that he strayed too high. The heat of the sun melted the wax and his wings fell apart. Icarus plunged into the sea and drowned.
Daedalus succeeded in escaping and Hercules erected a monument in memory of Icarus' tragic death.