William Hamilton R.A. 1751-1801. Jason and Medea Slaying The Colchian Dragon. 18th.Century British School. Circa. 1780. Oil on paper 'en grisaille'
30.8 x 24.7 Cms. Overall.
The Colchian Dragon was a giant, watchful serpent which guarded the Golden fleece in the sacred grove at Kolkhis (Colchis). When Jason and the Argonauts came to fetch the fleece, the beast was put to sleep by the witch Medea and then killed by Jason. The monster's teeth were harvested by King Aeetes for their magical properties. He commanded Jason sow them in a sacred field of Ares with a plough drawn by fire breathing bulls. When they were seeded a tribe of warlike men (The Spartoi) sprang up full-grown from the earth.
Hamilton trained in Rome under Zucchi and at the Royal Academy Schools from 1769. He exhibited portraits as well as literary and historical subjects and produced illustrations to Shakespeare. Elected an A.R.A. in 1784 and a full Academician in 1789. Hamilton's style shows the influence of the Neo-Classical Romanticism typical of the period, resembling the work of Angelica Kauffman. He also sometimes adopts aspects of Fuseli's dramatic distortions in composition and figure drawing.