Earth on Fire


Artist
Cleon Peterson (American, b. 1973)
Date
2020
Medium
Screenprint
Dimensions
Sheet : 24 x 18 in. (60.96 x 45.72 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number
2020.83

Label
According to Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan who, together with his brothers, waged war against the Olympian gods. After the Titans were defeated, Atlas was punished by being forced to support the sky upon his shoulders. Artists in the ancient world and later in Renaissance Europe often depicted this story by showing Atlas as a kneeling figure holding a celestial sphere on his shoulders. Inevitably, some artists mistook the celestial sphere for a terrestrial globe, which is the image used in this print by Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson to warn about the dangers of global warming.
 
Label
This print by Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson effectively conveys the sense of impending doom that many people feel when confronted with news about climate change and other environmental problems. The image of a kneeling figure holding a burning globe on his shoulders derives from a story in Greek mythology about Atlas, a Titan who took part in a war against the Olympian gods. After the Titans were defeated, the Olympians punished Atlas by forcing him to support the sky upon his shoulders. Artists in the ancient world and later in Renaissance Europe often depicted this story by showing Atlas as a kneeling figure holding a celestial sphere on his shoulders. Inevitably, some artists mistook the celestial sphere for a terrestrial globe, resulting in the image we see here.

Object Type
Print