Mercury and Argus Panoptes

Watercolor, 2016
24 x 38 cm

Based on a tale from ancient mythology.

 

It tells the story of Argus Panoptes, a giant with multiple eyes around his body and servant to Hera (wife to Zeus). He was all-seeing and could see in every direction, even when he was asleep he had always four eyes open. He was the guardian of Io, a nymph in the shape of a young female calf. Argus was set up to guard Io by Hera from been seduced by Zeus.

Zeus ordered Mercury, the messenger of the Olympian gods, to slain Argus and  set Io free. In order to do this Mercury dressed himself as a shepherd to avoid suspicions. With his spoken charm and soothing music, he was able to put all of Argus’ eyes asleep. In that moment, Mercury slew the giant and beheaded him. Mercury became known as Argeiphontes (Argus-slayer). To commemorate her faithful guardian, Hera had Argus’ many eyes preserved forever, in a peacock’s tail.