Hekate is a Greek-Roman goddess of Witchcraft, Magic, Crossroads, necromancy, Wilderness and Childbirth. So, she is a Godess referred to the dark side of the world. Because of this obscure sense I found this goddess inside dark music bands. First, Hecate is the name of a wonderful album from Ordo Equitum Solis, one of the pioneer bands in Medieval renewal music. I also found this goddess in the name of a Neofolk band from Germany: Hekate. And last, Hecate, is a black metal band.
But the main point of interest for me is the shape of three-headed goddess, maybe one of the possible origins of the iconography of three-headed Trinity in Christian religion. I have already talked about this iconography in a post about Michael Hussar, as you can remember. This theory is not followed by one of the main experts on iconography, Julius Von Schlosser, who links the beginning of this iconography in a three-headed God from celtic religion whose multi-facial head appears in sculpture in 12th century in France, close the location where the first three-headed Trinities appeared.
This introduction refers to my interest in the figure of Hekate, so, as Art Historian interested in fin de siècle I want to talk about the painting of the German Maximilian Pirner, mainly dedicated to make portraits, so the image of today must be placed out from his main production. To represent a Greek Goddess as Hekate at that time connects with the Symbolist style.
This pastel was made concretely in 1901 and represents Hekate in a singular way: a three-body goddess who flies turning around her longitudinal axis. We can see this triple nude body flying in front of the crescent Moon. We perceive her beauty in a very well proportioned body.
There is a strange symbolism unknown for me: three hands, one of each body, takes different elements: a key, a sword and a torch. I´m going to try to explain what they could mean. The key refers to a closed gate, a gate that only Hekate can open. Due to her obscure character, this key could be the gate between life and death. The sword refers to war, is a male attribute, maybe linked with the one of the three bodies related with the war, with Mars God. And finally, the torch refers to the light of the mind, attribute who links Hekate with Athenea, Goddess of wisdom.
However, this is a very strange painting, I don´t know similar images at that time, it could be possibly a very personal interpretation of this mythic and not well-known Antiquity Goddess.