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Mythology in Walton Ford’s Art

Walton Ford is an American artist known for his large-scale watercolor paintings. He often incorporates elements of mythology into his work through the use of animal symbolism.

Many cultures throughout history have assigned symbolic meanings to different animals, associating them with various human traits, characteristics, and narratives. Here is more information about how mythology manifests in Walton Ford art:


The Barbary lion, once native to North Africa, holds cultural significance in various mythologies. It is a recognizable symbol of strength, power, and nobility.

Throughout history, lions have appeared in mythological stories and religious texts, representing courage, royalty, and divine authority. Through the lion’s regal posture and commanding presence, Ford explores themes in mythological narratives, such as majesty and dominance.

Ford’s “Barbary” painting may serve as an allegory for the decline of the natural world. This is symbolized by the endangered status of the Barbary lion.

Ford’s work is also a reflection of humanity’s impact on the environment and the consequences of modern expansion. Global efforts to conserve and protect the remaining Barbary lions evoke themes of redemption and guardianship during environmental challenges.

The Graf Zeppelin

In “The Graf Zeppelin,” Walton Ford explores how mythology intertwines with historical and technological narratives. The Graf Zeppelin was a real German airship that operated in the early 20th century.

By featuring this iconic airship in his artwork, Ford mythologizes the technological wonders of the modern era. This Walton Ford art piece represents human innovation, ambition, and the pursuit of progress, echoing mythic narratives of exploration and adventure.

Flight has always been a symbol of human aspiration and transcendence in mythology. In many cultures, winged creatures like birds and angels represent freedom, enlightenment, and the pursuit of higher truths. By painting the Graf Zeppelin soaring through the sky, Ford evokes these mythic connections, implying a quest for knowledge, discovery, and the unknown.

Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros

Many cultures have myths about strange creatures from unexplored territories, symbolizing danger, wonder, or hidden knowledge. The rhinoceros, an animal unfamiliar to colonial Europeans, could be seen as such a creature.

Rhinos arrived from distant lands and represented the exoticism and perils of the unknown. In the painting “Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros,” Walton captures the moment a mythical rhino, bound for Portugal as a gift to the king, is about to be lost at sea. This painting evokes themes of sacrificial offerings and tragedies associated with powerful animals.

The painting also serves as an interpretation of human impact on the environment and the consequences of colonial expansion.

The wrecked ships and ominous skies suggest the destructive force of human intervention in natural ecosystems. Ford uses this piece to raise questions about the ethical consequences of exploiting and transporting exotic animals for curiosity and profit.

Tigers of Wrath

The confrontation between the two tigers in “Tigers of Wrath” resonates with mythic themes of conflict and rivalry. This primal struggle for dominance reflects narratives in mythology where gods, heroes, and mythical creatures engage in heroic battles to assert their authority.

the fierce struggle between the tigers is a metaphor for the clash between opposing forces in nature and society.

In “Tigers of Wrath,” the lush jungle setting represents mythic landscapes where epic tales unravel and the boundaries between mortal and divine worlds blur.

Mythological traditions often feature nature spirits or deities associated with wild places like jungles. The flourishing jungle ecosystem could be seen as a habitat for mythical creatures or a sacred realm where the tigers exert influence.

Explore Walton Ford Art

Many of Ford’s works feature rich symbolism from global mythological traditions. Some of his artwork references historical events or figures that have attained mythical status over time.

He also gives human-like characteristics and emotions to animals in his paintings, adding to the mythological themes of the pieces. Visit a commercial gallery today to discover and explore the themes within Walton Ford art.

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