26 October 2015 © Copyright - Back To Home
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)