26 October 2015 © Copyright - Back To Home Page

José Clemente Orozco, Prometheus, 1930, central panel, Frary Dining Hall, Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Orozco painted and completed his mural in 1930, at the start of the Great Depression. There is an extensive art history discussion of the mural so I won’t go into much detail here, other than to say that Prometheus incurred the wrath of Zeus when he gifted humankind with fire — a symbol of learning, enlightenment and innovation — a perfect metaphor for a relatively new institution of higher education.

Drawing on the Greek myth about bringing fire to humanity, Orozco's mural goes beyond the story's traditional symbolism to present a complex political work that questions the very idea of enlightenment in a modern world steeped in conflict. Orozco's vision of Prometheus as an allegory for art that attempts to reach a wider audience—bringing knowledge and enlightenment to the masses—highlights his efforts to transform society.

Barry M. Warmkessel - Pomona College (Class Of 1960)