March 17, 2021

A is for Atlantis

         Welcome to the A-Z Blog Challenge, where my theme this year is Mythical and Imaginary Places.  Yes, I started early, but I promise that I’ll end with Z on April 30, just like everyone else.
        I’m starting off easy by featuring a place that I’ve already written about.  In case it seems like that one extra click to my previous post is too much work, let me entice you with speculation about possible real-life locations from the North Sea to the Azores, with various interpretations of Atlantis from military juggernaut to New Age Utopia, and with Atlantis-inspired fiction from Disney to my own high fantasy series.  There’s lots of good stuff, so go ahead and click straight through to read the post about Atlantis.
        Meanwhile, to add a little extra content for 2021, here are three different depictions of Atlantis, ranging from the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century.  The first painting is by an artist who specialized in illustrating complicated cities in the throes of destruction.  He clearly enjoyed (and presumably had some market for) coming up with ever more elaborate architecture and ever more threatening skies.
        In the second painting you can clearly see the influence of the popularity at the time of conflating Atlantis with the Mayans or some other “lost” New World people.  Instead of 
looking Roman-inspired, like the first (and third) illustrations, this artist has made Atlantis’s architecture look Mayan.  I especially like the waves galloping through the city.
        And my final illustration for you comes from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in which the submariners visit the ruins of Atlantis at the bottom of the ocean.  I’m not sure whether the volcanic eruption is supposed to be happening at the bottom of the sea floor now, or in the somber viewer’s imagination as he recalls Atlantis’s tragic fate.
        And now for The MORAL of Atlantis: Even the rich and powerful can’t withstand an Act of Gods.
              OR:  Don’t build your city on a major fault line.
        Now, having read the post and enjoyed the apocalyptic art, be sure to let me know in the comments: Do you think there might really be any historical truth behind the legend of Atlantis?

[Pictures: The Fall of Atlantis, painting by François de Nomé, early 17th century (Image from The Public Domain Review);

Gibel Atlantidy (The Last of Atlantis), painting by Nikolai Roerich, 1928-9 (Image from Wikimedia Commons);

The ruins of Atlantis, illustration by Alphonse de Neuville from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, 1870 (Image from Wikimedia Commons).]


Pax said...

I had assumed that Plato's story was based on the eruption and destruction by the volcano Thera on Santorini. But it is interesting that perhaps humans need to have a story of inexplicable destruction of this magnitude? Fun to ponder. Meanwhile I look forward to the continuing A-Z challenge.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Pax, that is one theory, but by no means the only one.

Olga Godim said...

I love Roerich's art, but I didn't know about his Atlantis painting. For me, he is an artist who painted mostly Slavic and Asian scenes in his unique style.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Interesting, Olga. I wasn't really familiar with Roerich at all until I found the painting for this post.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Who is the artist on the first image? A very nice collection, putting these three next to each other. I'm so happy you are doing A to Z Again! :)

The Multicolored Diary

Deborah Weber said...

I like to think Atlantis was real, but I also agree the idea of lost civilizations seems prevalent in so many cultures it must also speak to some universal archetypal need. My favorite illustration is the seemingly Mayan influenced one. I never really held an image of what Atlantis might have looked like, but now I'll be holding this one. I enjoyed your original post as well - thanks for linking to it. And I do love your moral(s) of the story. I think the avoiding fault lines is hilariously on point.

Anne M Bray said...

Hi Anne!
Color me confused at first! I guess you started early?
These all make Atlantis look scary! Not my idea of utopia!

Anyhow, the confusion continues over on my art site where you intended to post a comment. It went to the old original site commenting system, which I was supposed to have replaced with Discus, which will hide any "old system" comments. I still got it through email and THANKS for including your URL.

OK, that was all very convoluted.

JadeLi said...

Looking forward to reading and seeing your A-Z this year. I'm certain Atlantis existed at some time and place, perhaps only in imagination. Have you heard the story of The Peach Blossom Village?

I'm covering Jethro Tull songs this month:

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Zalka, the first artist is François de Nomé. You can always find full info on all the images I post at the end, along with links to where I got them. I'm a stickler about that (although there are times when I just can't find much info.)

Anne, Atlantis may have been a great civilization, but all these pictures are showing us the moment of destruction, so of course they're scary! As for the commenting confusion, I'm glad you could see the comment even if the technology is all in a tizzy. Hopefully it will sort out one way or another.

kajmeister said...

I hadn't read your previous post until now, so thanks for reposting and choosing it for A. Since I happen to be an Olympics fan, and the 1896 Athens reboot was knee deep in the classical re-re-revival,including the archaeological discoveries from Greece going on the in the 1830-1880 timeframe, it makes me really curious. Maybe the search for the perfect sporting extravaganza also came from the same impetus that caused so many to re-imagine, re-study, and research Atlantis in the 1880s. Maybe the Industrial Revolution fueled the desire for simpler times? Lots of maybes... looking for to the B-Z too.

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

Hello! I really like the art here, and also the moral. And the Mayan influence in the second one is intriguing. As for historical truth, I mean, it seems likely that there's some basis. After that whole finding-Troy thing, I'm not really willing to call any vanished city merely mythical.

SASiety said...

This is such a fascinating theme to write about and I cannot wait to read more of your posts! I particularly love Nikolai Roerich's depiction of Atlantis, it is a cultural hodgepodge; the skies remind me a bit of a cubist painting in the way that the colour has been fragmented into sections and I wonder to what extent he was influenced by Asian art (particularly Japanese) as the waves certainly remind me of Ogata Kōrin's "Rough Waves".

As far as Atlantis itself is concerned -- I love the way it mutated into such a fantastical phenomenon and how it has evolved in our cultural imagination. At school, I was taught that Atlantis was a fictional island in some works by Plato and that is all that was said on that. Though I haven't explored anything in relation to it since then, I will definitely be exploring it more now that I've read your post.

- Elena x

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Considering the sea changes over the millennia, it seems plausible that more than one island lies at ocean bottom. Just as some have yet to surface, others will disappear by wind erosion or earthquakes. Thanks for visiting my gecko post today.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

kajmeister, that's an interesting idea to tie it in with the neo-neo-classic trend.

Melanie, you're so right about Troy. And Gail, too -- plenty of sunken islands, so why not one of them with an advanced civilization? Never say never.

Elena, I hadn't thought of a Japanese influence on Roerich, but you're right, it's certainly a glorious hodgepodge.

Linda Gardiner said...

You find the best images. Glad to see you here in the challenge again.
I'll e watching! Thanks for stopping by mine as well.

Pulp Paper & Pigment-My Fiber Art Blog

Mike said...

Atlantis is a great place to start!

Unknown said...

When I was a young girl, Disney's interpretation of Atlantis was one of my favorite movies. I always enjoy learning more about Atlantis, so I really appreciate this post! Thank you for sharing images throughout history.

JazzFeathers said...

Stunning illustrations!
I particularly like the second one - it makes me think of Tolkien's Numenor... which of course was his interpretation of Atlantis myth.

The Old Shelter - The Great War

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Looks like the second illustration is definitely the winner! More people have commented appreciatively on it than the others.

Kalpana said...

I'm fascinated and horrified by Atlantis and am delighted to have discovered your A to Z Challenge. I haven't seen this painting by Roehrich and was intrigued to know he'd painted Atlantis.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I came back to the start of this because you have such a wonderful theme!

I am not sure if you remember these (you might not be old enough!) but back in the 1970s there were all of Faux documentaries where they would send researchers out to uncover things like Atlantis. They were the precursor to Leonard Nimoy's "In Search Of..." anyway there was one on Atalantis that I would like to see again. It had a scientist that claimed it was an alien base under water!

This is going to be a great trip through your blog. Some of these places are new to me. Most are going to feel like going home.

Tim Brannan, The Other Side: 2021: The A to Z of Monsters

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Love your theme!

Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Anubis

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Tim, I definitely remember "In Search Of" and how no episode about anything ever ended conclusively! I might have seen some older ones, but don't have clear memories.

J-Dub said...

I’ve always been enamored with Atlantis. The moral is a good one.

J-Dub said...

I’ve always been enamored with Atlantis. The moral is a good one.