March 24, 2021

D is for Dorado

         (My A-Z Blog Challenge theme this year is Mythical and Imaginary Places.)
        El Dorado, City of Gold, next best thing to the Midas Touch as a symbol of limitless greed… Where did the legend come from?  What fragments of truth may have led to the fantasy?  To find out, read 
        As for depictions of the city, the legend isn’t old enough to have any older illustrations, and the treasure hunters themselves were far too busy digging and slaughtering to moon about, painting enticing pictures.  Only when the idea of El Dorado became firmly relegated to modern fantasy have modern fantasy artists started to put their imaginations to work on visual representations of a fantastical golden city.  So here are two pieces of digital art with two different takes on the idea.  First is a more traditional Central-American-inspired version.  It includes a faint overlay of the Aztec sun disk, with Mayan-style architecture.  As befits a lost city, it is overgrown, and the path to it is broken and uneven.  
The second depiction is interesting for evoking a futuristic city instead, all sharp-angled skyscrapers lighting up the night.  I like the thought of El Dorado existing for all this time, never discovered and despoiled by conquistadors, entering the twenty-first -- or thirty-first -- century in all its splendor.
        The MORAL of El Dorado: The belief that money is the most precious thing destroys all the most precious things.
              OR:  Gold is really not the best construction material.
        So, how do you picture El Dorado?  Or if you had all that gold, perhaps you’d use it for something other than paving the streets and blinging out the architecture?

[Pictures: El Dorado - The Lost City of Gold, digital art by Brian Giberson (Image from Indigo Light);

El Dorado, digital art by Gonzalo Golpe (Image from GolpeArt).]


Olga Godim said...

A city of gold? That's a fascinating idea, but I'm not sure it is quite practical. I wouldn't want to live in a golden house. The ventilation would be bad - gold is too good a conductor of heat and electricity. I think that the people who came up with the idea of El Dorado didn't have a good grasp of physics.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

lol - You're probably right, Olga. On the other hand they didn't intend to live in it. They intended to seize it all, melt it down, and get rich quick.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Lol, yeah, gold is not great to build from. I'd rather imagine El Dorado as something decorated with beautiful indigenous art that the colonizers just could not comprehend.

The Multicolored Diary

Deborah Weber said...

Curiously, although I've certainly heard of El Dorado, I didn't actually have an idea of what it or the legend was. Sometimes the gaps in my knowledge feel bigger than the universe itself. But I'm glad to have had your previous post to start me on track, and this one to help me start imagining it.

Since El Dorado anagrams into "Lead Door" I think my moral of the story might be: maybe your greedy eyes aren't seeing what's really there. :-)

Lisa said...

Well, there's the fact that pure gold is too soft to construct anything practical. Also, we've seen photo of certain rich men who gild everything in there homes. Even if I could, I think it's ugly!

JadeLi said...

I think the legend of gold in Mexico, Central, and South America rationalized all kinds of evil visited upon the indigenous populations by the Spanish conquistadors.

My "D" Tull song is located here:

Weekends in Maine said...

I love how an image of the same thing can look so incredibly different when imagined by different artists. Weekends In Maine

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Deborah, I love your anagram of El Dorado to Lead Door!

Lisa, you are so right: conspicuous consumption is definitely ugly, aesthetically and morally.

Jade, it was absolutely the motivation for terrible inhumanity. So stupid and senseless.

Weekends, I agree. I really enjoy seeing how different artists interpret the same subject so differently.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I always pictured El Dorado as a place with secret libraries tucked away in every corner... stories are pure gold :-)

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

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Ronel, I love the idea of redefining what counts as "gold" for a City of Gold!