How do you know a portrait is not just a portrait, but a picture of Persephone?


Dante Gabriel Rossetti



oil on canvas

125.1 x 61 cm

Persephone was rescued from Hades. But. She could not leave forever, for she had eaten six pips of an underworld pomegranate and therefore is compelled to return for six months of every year. Demeter, goddess of abundance and agriculture and Persephone’s mother, mourns the loss of her daughter and punishes everyone by bringing winter in this time that Persephone is away.

I guess that the pomegranate’s tug is loosening, now that we have climate change wreaking havoc on the weather. Or, at least, the agreement has been altered and we mere humans don’t understand the terms yet.

An interesting side note: Pomegranates are used extensively in Tibetan traditional medicine for their very healing properties. Even though the pomegranate is what keeps Persephone bound to Hades, perhaps the pomegranate is also what keeps her strong and able to become the Underworld Queen in her full right.

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