Icarus Aquaticus, bronze, height 27 cm

Back in the late 1960s, when I was a Physics student at Essex, my first experience of a sculpture exhibition opened my eyes to a new world. It was bronzes by Michael Ayrton. He was obsessed with the ancient Greek myths about Daedalus, his son Icarus, and the Minotaur. Daedalus, a sculptor and engineer, constructed wings with which to escape from captivity on Crete and fly home to mainland Greece with his son. Icarus flew too high, the sun melted the beeswax which held his wings together, and he fell into the sea, leaving only feathers floating on the surface. This piece is a homage to Ayrton: here, Icarus lives on in an underworld below the sea. But his wings have been transformed into propellor blades…meanwhile, as Ovid put it: pennas aspexit in undis

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