A few people have asked me about the painting on my blog banner. This enormous painting is "Achelous and Hercules" by regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. It hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and truly is a remarkable painting. You all know my great fondness for myth, so I am always enthralled by it when visiting the museum.
In the 40's, the Army Corp of Engineers began work in the Midwest to harness the Missouri River. Benton, who was born in Missouri, used the Greek mythological story of Achelous and Hercules as a parable to portray this great work. In short, Achelous, Greek god of the rivers, took on the form of an angry bull, tearing new channels through the earth with his horns. Hercules defeated him by tearing off one horn, which became nature's cornucopia, or horn of plenty. With my great fondness for myth, I am always enthralled by it when I visit the museum and make a point to spend time gazing.