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Opinions and Information Appeal

The following is a collection of information and opinions given by Artists, Experts, University Lecturers and other related people on the net. They have all replied to the plea for information about the question:
Why are artworks with clear Mythological Themes (and sometimes names) classified as Fantasy Art?


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If you would like to contribute, please click here for the original message that was replied to. The titles that are linked to the texts are extracts from what the people have said, and were not made up by the contributors themselves. If you would like to contribute, and have a title, then do not hesitate to specify one.

Fantasy & Mythological Art separate at the point where we begin to elaborate... - Shadow Panther
The distinction is largely based on the historical context of the piece... - Mike Kirby
Many sub-genres tend to be lumped together... - Janet Parris
"Mythological" & "Fantasy" are not a classical categorization of art - Mick Poirier
Myth had a basis in reality, Fantasy is more improbable or impossible... - LadyCorn
Myth and Fantasy are linked together... - Dawn Ball (Nighthawk)
The main the difference is the frame of mind when painting... - D M Friend
The difference is that Myth has some basis in fact or faith... - Cindy Watts (Electra)
The difference is that people thought myths were real - Rebecca Gallant
An Artwork featuring a Mythical element should fit in a Mythological Category - Barry (XXLBadboy)
Imaginary Fantasy with Possible Psychological Projections... - A. Andrew Gonzalez
Mythological creatures represent abstract ideals... - DarkDaemon
Artwork might fit into several categories, all of them meaningful... - Scott "Sven" Johnson
Both deal with archetypes, but mythology does so more intensely... - David Camp
It is neither the majority religion nor realism... - Sylvia Leung (Songblade)
In general art IS actually mythological art... - Dan Dionne
It is by no means a clear distinction... - Curtis (the Sphinx)
A simple answer to a confusing question - Carissa
Myth is something People USED to believe in... - Gin May
Fantasy art deals mainly with things that were invented by imagination... - Rene






Fantasy & Mythological Art separate at the point where we begin to elaborate...

I think Fantasy & Mythological art separate at the same level that the writings themselves do. Eg; He who brought us Fire to help mankind sounds like fantasy, however, the fantasy would begin when we as people begin to elaborate and over-exaggerate it, tossing in a good dose of our imagination; "He brought us fire to help enlighten us, but we as a people took this gift and made war with it, causing a hundred-year war unknown to mankind at that time, creating things of belching fire, and arrows of fire slung through the air to burn our enemy's villages. Great Wyrms of Prometheus, seeing how we have twisted his gift, fly down from the whatever-mount ins, ravaging the land with Prometheus' enlightning fire." That would be definite fantasy, if not poor, and based on Mythology.

Fantasy Art & Mythological Art I think would seperate at the point that we as people began to elaborate on the stories which already exist using our imagination, thoughts, and over-exaggerate it. Say, for instance, a picture of Prometheus handing a human fire, and the human taking the fire and lighting a camp-fire with it. The person handling the fire with his hands may at first seem like fantasy, but it would be almost the best visual representation of receiving something fire from Prometheus (I think here is where words come in to play, such as with Hebrew, perhaps their word for "receive" meant different things, but in order to express what was taught verbally, it was drawn as such to make an immediate impression on the viewer), so that in itself would not be fantasy. Fantasy would kick in where we as people began depicting us not only handling the fire, but throwing it about with our bare hands. So, even though the piece of art may be called something based upon mythology, it's obviously fantasy (that of us throwing it about with our hands) because it's over-exaggerated and "extended" it with our imagination.

- Shadow Panther






The distinction is largely based on the historical context of the piece...

The distinction between mythological and fantasy art is largely based on the historical context of the piece. Works of art that address topics of myth are considered to be mythological art when created in context with the belief structure of the myth. Works of art that address topics of myth are considered to be fantasy art when they are created out of context with the belief structure of the myth.

Using the above distinction, Michaelangelo's David would be considered mythological art-- it was created in a time when the myth of David and Goliath was part of the belief structure of the society. Boris Vallejo's Icarus was created at a time when the myth of Icarus has little place in our belief structures, and thus is considered fantasy art.

In America, we have a wonderful creation myth, which we celebrate every year in November. There really is no historical record of the so-called "first Thanksgiving", but we see illustrations and stories about it in our grade school history books to this day. There are numerous works of art depicting this fictitious event, and I would readily categorize them as modern mythological art. Once the Thanksgiving myth loses it's hold on our modern belief structure, I'm sure there will be artists that depict this tale, and those works of art would be deemed fantasy art (even though they would bear little resemblance to elves, dragons, and greek gods). This may be decades from now, but the time will come.

Take the above opinion for what it's worth...

- Mike Kirby
Technical Webmaster
Wholesale Slaughter Enterprises
"70%, I can live with the smell"




Many sub-genres tend to be lumped together...

I would suppose, in the United States at least, many sub-genres tend to be lumped together. For example, the World Fantasy Convention also includes Horror as a sub-genre, and both the artists and writers who are members consider Myth as a part of the Fantasy genre. Although Myth may have a basis or origin in fact and fantasy is obviously imagination-driven, in art in particular, both must be derived from the artist's imagination and vision, and stories from both tend to have many similarities in style, construct, and in some cases, content. Stories from Mythology have been expanded and elaborated over the years and in present-day form may be quite different from the original tale or event upon which the Myth was based. Taking into consideration the amount of personal perspective and input from which the artist approaches a subject in either Fantasy or Myth, it is really difficult to see how a line between the two could be determined. Probably the only deciding distinction would have to be whether the art subject/story was based upon a Myth or whether it is completely from the creator's imagination, but this might be a very difficult, if not impossible thing to determine, as so much Fantasy is based upon another idea or story, perhaps from Myth, but the influence may be so subtle it may be difficult to discern, even for the creator.

- Janet S. Parris
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Mythological & Fantasy are not a classical categorization of art

The first point that comes to mind is that the separation of art by themes, such as Mythological or Fantasy, is not a classical categorization of art, which may help explain why you are finding the separations difficult in art history texts.

Classically, art is usually distinguished by styles, by periods in art history, (usually geographically delimited such as Flemish, Italian, French), or by schools, where a school is an artificial grouping of artists and their work because of similarities in technique or interpretive mode. I say 'artificial' because the artists themselves are not usually the ones making the classification, or associating themselves and their works with a particular style. This is usually done by art critics and historians after the fact.

The classical separations then would be such as Classicism (Renaissance), Fauvism, Dadaism, Italian Futurism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Modernism, Post-Modernism, Minimalism, Cubism, etc. etc.

In Euro-centric art history's Classicism, the only subjects, other than portraiture, officially recognized as being 'worthy' of art was Classical Mythology. Mythology in this case being the Roman or Greek myths where gods, goddesses and other mythological figures were used to explain the universe and man's connection to it, as well as providing 'explanations' for the mysteries of things and how things came to be. The myths are instructional and quasi-religious.

The Early Impressionists, inspired chiefly by Edouard Manet, who himself was greatly influenced by his sister-in-law, Berthe Morisot, were the first to rebel and start painting ordinary people in ordinary life situations, and imaginary, or fantasy, subjects not based on Classical Mythology. Which is why their work, seen as 'common' and 'vulgar', was not accepted for show in the Salons of the École des beaux Arts. They held their own exhibitions in the "Salon des Refusés", backed by more forward-looking art dealers.

With the advent of Science Fiction, there were even more fantastic and imaginary subjects for artists. Then, even Science Fiction separated out Fantasy from pure Sci-Fi and created another division. The sheer volume of works offered necessitated categorization.

Modern thought classes mythology as fantasy, although there is a difference between the two, on the simple basis that the subjects and objects are not 'real'. The categorizations are only useful in art for its commercialisation for example in specialized commercial galleries, and in the illustrative art market. They are not useful for art history so are not used in museum-type galleries or in official art history texts.

Mick Poirier

http://www.storm.ca/~mcpoirier




Myth had a basis in reality, Fantasy is more improbable or impossible...

I always thought that myths had a basis in reality. Fantasy was always something that was improbable and more likely impossible. When you mix artwork in, I think it all becomes fantasy. You can draw feather and wings on Icarus and he may get to close to the sun. You can have a Minotaur and a Dragon and a Unicorn all in the same garden. You can have Alice and the Mad Hatter and that cute little mouse in the teapot and no one would even blink an eye. I don't think you can separate Fantasy and Myth any more. With the new technologies you can grow ears on the back of mice. That used to be fantasy. Good luck with your research.

........../
....__O
~<...>
- LadyCorn




Myth and Fantasy are linked together...

For me, I think I'd have to examine the definitions. I think just about everyone knows that 'fantasy' is something fictional, not real. But what's a myth? I've heard and read some different defs for that one. Like: 'First you have history ...time passes ...the historical event becomes legend ...more time passes ...the legend becomes myth.' That statement would go with, "a myth is an unproven event in history". Others say myth is outright fiction. Which brings me back to fantasy. Lovely little circle, don't you think?

So how else do we identify the genre of fantasy? In art, novels, games, and movies, generally there is a background of magic, strange and powerful creatures (sometimes with human like intelligence). A lack of our kind of technology, and in the distant past, (or a distant planet, dimension\realm of existence). A struggle between good and evil (an almost supernaturally, thought to be unbeatable villain against a hero, who can sometimes be like Bruce Willis. In the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time, and would rather not have the pressure of saving the world put on his shoulders.) Also, I think it's important to say that there is sometimes a lesson to be learned, which we discover as the 'story' unfolds. Or perhaps there is some kind of personal sacrifice, which makes us ask ourselves if 'we' could make that kind of sacrifice. Either way we end up doing a lot of thinking and some soul searching.

I think most everyone would identify myths in the same way. In other words, myth and fantasy are linked together. You can't take one away from the other. If there weren't any myths, you wouldn't have the genre of fantasy. And behind a fantasy story, you'll find a myth.

In my mind, fantasy expands certain elements, events, so on, which can be found in myths. Which is expressed in many media, be it a story, a game, and in your case, art.

- NightHawk (Dawn Ball)
Also E-mail: nighthawk@cybergal.com
ICQ UIN# 1119922
NightHawk's Lair




The main the difference is the frame of mind when painting...

I think the main the differences between mythological and fantasy art is the frame of mind when painting. When the Egyptians were painting the hieroglyphics of the Ancient Kingdom, I'm sure the artisan believed that what he was painting really existed on a higher level. Or if the artisan didn't, then the contractor did. But when I draw a minotaur to add to my collection of creatures, all I'm thinking about is " what would one look like if it really existed".

As to why some fantasy art of today is still called Mythological art? Again, it might be as simple as the reason for the drawing. If an artist draws a picture to represent a story in a culture's history, then it still will probably be labeled as mythological. The culture doesn't have to be real in the artist mind to have a history. But if I were to draw a picture of a fantasy creature, I can still call it a portrait, even though the creature never existed. So, look at the adjective "mythological" as a more defined term then "fantasy" rather than another term all together.

- David Michael Friend
Creatures of Imagination




The difference is that Myth has some basis in fact or faith...

To me, I think the difference between Mythological art and Fantasy art is that Myth has some basis in fact or faith. There can be many retellings of a mythological legend, but usually all of them will have some part that is identical and related to some truth or belief in that society. For example, there may be several versions of the story of Hercules/Herakles death in Greek Mythology, however the fact that his burning to death seems to be a constant ending, whether he died directly from the cloak of fire, committed suicide to escape the pain by burning himself on a pyre, or whether his nephew Iolaus set the pyre ablaze for him; are the variations that the writers can use to retell the tale. There is also, usually very ancient artwork that exists somewhere that usually validates the existence of the legend. Think of Mythological art as being in the same vein as Religious art. There are countless religious works, depicting God, Jesus, the disciples, miracles and legends of the bible. Religion is a form of blind faith, you believe the events occurred and the people exist/existed because you have faith that they did. Although an artist might render Noah's ark a little differently from another, almost anyone who believes in the biblical event will recognize the artwork as Noah's ark.

Fantasy art is based on the imagination. It can contain many aspects of Mythological art, but the ability to prove or substantiate your depiction of something isn't there. Is there any proof showing that Unicorns existed? Any society that worships and has documented the fact/belief in artwork or writings? Yet the idea of a fantasy creature with special powers that could have existed is intriguing, and brings out the creativity of it's artist. I could draw a dragon with four eyes, or a unicorn with blue fur. Who can say I was wrong and they didn't exist? However, if I were to draw Aphrodite, she wouldn't look like Margaret Thatcher or Rosanne! Why? Because Mythology says she was a amazingly beautiful goddess that controlled the emotion of love. Now I could make her blonde, brunette, or a red head. Tall, medium or short. Even a woman of color, if I so chose. Yet, she should still be beautiful. Able to captivate any mortal man as well as Olympic god.

I think the normal art society, isn't too sure how to categorize these types of artwork, so they simply lump them all together as Fantasy art. The same was with music several decades ago. You had Rock 'n Roll, Easy Listening, Country, or Classical. As the times changed and the music industry/society started thinking about the different types of music out there, more categories emerged. Now, you barely have Rock 'N Roll anymore, but Pop, Rock, Rap, Hard Rock, R&B, Soul, New Age, Grunge, etc. Fantasy and Mythological art may always be linked together, since they are both based on legends and/or beliefs.

Okay, maybe I am babbling here. I just know what I like. I am always amazed at the Fantasy art that is created by artists like Vallejo. They are so realistic looking and intricate that I can actually believe the creature or person could have existed. So, if Vallejo renders Icarus flying to close to the sun, in my mind, that is Mythological art. If he draws a dragon slayer on his unicorn steed, that would be Fantasy art.

- Electra/Cindy Watts
Renton, WA USA




The difference is that people thought myths were real

The difference between fantasy art and mythological art is that at one time, people thought myths were real. Now-a-days, myth and fantasy are the same because no one really believes in ancient gods and stories anymore. It's a very blurry line as it is.

Rebecca Gallant
Becky's Wildlife and Fantasy Art
Specializing in photo realistic wildlife and fantasy paintings and illustrations.




An Artwork featuring a Mythical element should fit in a Mythological Category

In my mind Mythological art would be a work that would feature a mythical element from one of the world's cultures (example: a sculpture of the Greek god Apollo). Any piece of artwork (fiction and other mediums included) featuring an established mythical element should fit in this category.

Fantasy art on the other hand, in my opinion, uses elements that have been created recently by an artist from their imagination.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, the difference I can see is that Mythology (and Mythological art is a depiction of that Mythology) is created by a whole culture, whereas Fantasy art is created solely by a single artist from their imagination.

I don't know where you can find any academic writings about this subject, other than to sift through University archives on the Internet.

Barry
http://members.aol.com/xxlbadboy/main.htm




Imaginary Fantasy with Possible Psychological Projections...

I suggest the problem is to first define fantasy and mythology. Fantasy as an act of the imagination is a very general term. It can reach from the sacred to the profane, and includes the mythological. While there are aspects of fantasy that are clearly unreal, the mythological dimension of fantasy is a living extension of our being and is seen as another way accessing the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the real.

Campbell states that mythology is transparent to the transcendent, meaning not only is it created by our imagination, but it's imagery is also guided by the Other. It's purpose is a "...sense of actual participation in such a realization of transcendence" and of "...opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of being"

This is a difficult subject because myth, fantasy, and imagination are easily and commonly seen as the unreal, (possibly because of the entertainment industry and scientific empiricalism). Jung refers to the artist imagination as ether psychological or visionary. Psychological, being the world of conscious cognition and ordinary awareness while the visionary artist is compelled by "the strange and primordial that arise from deep within the timeless, archetypal depths" and is "seized by the daimonic force of the art making process".

Coleridge writes of a primary and secondary imagination. Where the primary imagination is the unconscious participation in the eternal act of creation or genesis and the secondary "echoes" andre-creates the former and is concerned with the construction of the phenomenal world. Henry Corbin, the French scholar of Islamic Gnosis, makes a distinction between imaginary fantasy and the Imaginal. The imaginary is the unreal creations from the conscious manipulation of memory and fancy. And the Imaginal as a sacred reality accessible by imagination. This imagination does not construct something unreal, but unveils the hidden reality. It reveals an "eruption of another world into our knowledge". Typically it's through non-ordinary or altered states of consciousness that the mythical dimensions are revealed but its imagery while guided by the universal is also shaped by the personal and has the danger of being delusional in an unprepared mind.

It's also difficult to separate myth and fantasy because one person's or culture's mythology can be another's imaginary fantasy. But as far as mythological themes in art are concerned, I believe them to be imaginary fantasy with possible psychological projections.

"You have very Romantic eyes. Your eyes see only what they want to see" -F. Scott Fitzgerald

A. Andrew Gonzalez
http://www.sublimatrix.com




Mythological creatures represent abstract ideals...

Well, my opinion on the topic is that people have always been amazed at things out of the ordinary, out of the "mundane." Another reason might be because mythological creatures represent abstract ideals (eg, the unicorn=chastity, the dragon=evil, the phoenix=rebirth). Well, that's my opinion on the topic.

- dark_daemon@usa.net




Artwork might fit into several categories, all of them meaningful...

You have no doubt discovered that categorization of art is a tricky thing, with some works refusing to be categorized. Confusing the issue is the fact that artists seldom concern themselves with what category their art fits into, except perhaps to try to "bust out of" a category. The title of a given piece doesn't necessarily help. The title might be metaphorical, like if I draw a picture of a sorcerer squinting over a tome by candlelight and accidentally igniting his hair on the flame, and named it "Icarus." Or it might be hard to tell whether the title is metaphorical or literal. Suppose there is a painting of a pretty young woman with flowers in her hair, in the arms of a man in black, and the painting is titled, "Persephone and Hades." It might represent the characters from mythology, or it might be a human woman and a vampire, metaphorically referred to as Persephone and Hades. I know, I know, there are many cases where a work seems obviously in one category, but gets placed in the other. Not all the examples are as ambiguous as the ones I just described.

There is a psycho linguist named George Lakoff who discusses categories in a book titled "Women Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind." As he points out, most categories that people use everyday do not really rely on clear-cut distinctions, or on necessary or sufficient characteristics. They tend to be fuzzier than that, with membership for a given example based on a mixture of multiple criteria and similarity to more easily categorized examples. I think that this is true when categorizing art as "fantasy" or "mythological." So for instance, a Boris Vallejo painting of "Icarus" or "Andromeda" may get classified as "fantasy" just because it was drawn by Boris, and a lot of his art is obviously fantasy, and it seems to make sense to lump his art together.

Another component of the confusion might be the fact that we modern humans kind of like it if genres in various media (including books and movies) correspond in some way. But if you go to a bookstore or video store, stories about Hercules or Jason will probably be classified as "fantasy" -- there probably won't be a section about "mythology," except as reference/documentary material, or as "classics." So in a way, I suppose it shouldn't surprise us if a painting of Hercules slaying the Hydra gets classified as "fantasy art." Besides, would it be fair to say that Hercules slaying the Hydra is "mythology," but Conan slaying a two-headed snake is "fantasy?"

But how do I distinguish between "fantasy art" and "mythological art?" Honestly, I never tried before, or even thought about the question. I certainly never thought about it enough to try to separate them out into two disjoint sets. I don't even think I like to try to distinguish between them now that I think about it. I mean, if I like a painting of Hercules slaying the Hydra, I'd probably like a painting of Conan slaying a two-headed snake, done in the same style with a similar feel. I would prefer to think that a work might fit into several categories, all of them meaningful for various purposes. Some might fall into both "mythology" and "fantasy" and perhaps some other categories, too, like "heroic," "man vs. monster," or even, "muscle bound men slaying reptiles with more than one head" (to say nothing of categories based on date, style, media used, or artist's nationality). All of those categories could be of use to us, depending on what we wanted to discuss. And some of the categories overlap or even contain others.

- Scott "Sven" Johnson
Doctoral Candidate in Architecture
University of Michigan
and Lothlorien gallery 45




Both deal with archetypes, but mythology does so more intensely...

As for mythology vs fantasy, I can only express an opinion. Both deal with archetypes, but mythology does so a little more intensely, I think. That is mythology's focus and why it has the power to stick with us for many centuries. It touches on basic, subconscious truths and images. Of course fantasy does, or tries to do this, too. If it is less powerful, it is because it has not touched the subconscious to the same degree.

The short novel (The Inferno) on my web is in the gray area between fantasy and myth. I call it a work of fantasy because it's set on another planet and involves magic, but it has classical elements and is intended as an allegory. The characters are more than just characters.

- David Camp
http://www.esotericart.com/fringe/art/fantasy/DavidCamp/Ancient_Spirits/
The short novel can be found at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/6406/Bookart.html




It is neither the majority religion nor realism...

I suppose it is because it is neither the majority religion (such as frescos of Christ and the like) nor realism (stupid bowls of fruit)... I'd like to think that the society that dubs mythos art as fantasy don't understand that myths (I'm thinking Greek and some Chinese paintings) were once important to a whole society. They didn't think that their myths were their religion and that their religion was their life... Then again, I'm quite angry at established Christian and Catholic religions at the moment, who get more exposure in museums and hailed as great works of art than say... paintings of satyrs or something.

- Sylvia Leung
SongbladeX@aol.com




In general art IS actually mythological art...

A book I would suggest, for a general history sort of art, would be "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Art Techniques."

I have never really thought of 'mythological art' and ------- art as being separate. I think, however, that mythology art probably falls under ------- art. Sometimes art is thought of as being, not just unicorns and dragons and fairies etc., but, more accurately, 'fantastic art,' characterized by mood-setting and, well, fantastic elements.

However, if you are referring to high art (as seen on Elfwood), I think that in general art IS actually mythological art. If you think about it, many of the creatures of high come from mythology. Dragons, fairies, mermaids, you name it. I have seen even traditional Greek mythological creatures included, like the hydra, cerberus, chimera, pegasus, and minotaur. Others have been added (like orcs), but, altogether, exists as a whole messy jumbling of classic mythological and newer Tolkienesque elements.

- Dan Dionne




It is by no means a clear distinction...

Asking where myth ends and fantasy begins is rather like asking where the Pacific Ocean ends and the Indian Ocean Begins: it is by no means a clear distinction and there is considerable overlap.

The problem is, the terms 'Myth' and 'Fantasy' are not well defined-- define the terms to your satisfaction and the distinction between them becomes obvious.

Lacking a clear, empircal method of defining the difference between myth and fantasy, we must admit that any definition we come up with will be highly subjective. What is myth for one person may be fantasy for a second person, both for a third person, and neither for a fourth.

Why should we care what is the difference between myth and fantasy? The purpose of making such fine distinctions is to provide a linguistic tool which will allow comparisons and contrasts between (in this case) works of art-- art being literary, photographic, poetic, painted, et al. There for the definitions must be useful, which is to say precise.

Both Myth and Fantasy are subdivisions of 'Fiction.' It therefore behooves us to define 'Fiction,' in equally precise terms.

For the sake of argument let us define Fiction as: Artistic work which derives its value from subjective truth rather than objective fact.

Both myth and fantasy derive from fiction, which means their value derives from the truths they contain rather than any facts they illuminate. They propose and justify truths. This answers the question of 'What,' myths and fantasies do, which means the distinction between them must come from some source other than 'What.' Which leaves us with Why, Who, Where, When, and How.

I will dispense with Who, Where, and When without further comment. Myths and Fantasies can apply anywhere, any time, to anybody.

The distinction between myth and fantasy must therefore reside between Why and How.

It is tempting to belabor the Why. After all, motivation lies at the heart of truth, which is what artists are aiming to get at one way or another. On closer inspection, however it becomes obvious that the distinction of myth and fantasy does not reside in the Why; for the purpose of all fiction (by the working definition above) is to propose and justify truths. This is Why all fiction is created. (Ulterior motives aside, some truth, however flimsy or false, must be proposed for a work to qualify as fictional.) Any question of Why must therefore be applied to all fiction rather than its subdivisions.

This leaves us with How. The difference between myth and fantasy must reside in how they are presented? How are they different? This question is very nearly impenetrable.

The fact is, 'myth' is a very old term, and 'fantasy' is a very new term. Myth originated from a time of oral traditions, where stories were passed down from one generation to another largely by word of mouth. The word fantasy came about in an age where nearly all fiction was written down. Oral traditions tend to be very fluid. Stories change from one generation to another and from one storyteller to another. Written traditions tend towards informational stasis. Once something is written down it had a permanent record and writers tend to take offence when their words are changed (bloody editors...)
What this means is, there are dozens of versions of stories handed down from oral traditions. All the versions are similar enough to be recognizably the same story, but different enough to have different themes and morales. In other words these oral stories have been used to justify a variety of different truths. A story from one of these traditions could therefore be considered a vessel of sorts, filled with whatever truth the storyteller wished to convey.

Written traditions, as I mentioned before, are far more static. There is usually only a single version of a story created on paper. The writer inscribes all his arguments for the truth and leaves it at that. The responsibility for extracting and interpreting those truths, however, falls on the shoulders of the reader.

Now perhaps we can make a useful distinction between fantasy and myth.

If we accept the terms 'Fantasy' originates in the written tradition let us define it thus: Fantasy is a work of fiction, involving elements of the fantastic (anything impossible according to the laws of physics counts as fantastic), wherein the story elements are local to a specific work, and wherein the postulated truths are unique to the specific story.

If we accept the term 'Myth' originates in oral tradition let us define it thus: Myth is a work of fiction, involving elements of the fantastic (see above) wherein the story elements are drawn from a greater tradition, and wherein the postulated truths are relative to a specific telling.

In other words, Myth is a meter of social involvement. The more people contribute to a fantasy, the more likely it is to become Myth. Tolkien's works have clearly gone over into the realm of myth by virtue of audience participation. How many people have added their own stories to Middle Earth? The same can be said of Star Trek and Star Wars. They are both modern myths. How many different layers have been added to the Arthur Myth over the years? What about Valdemar and Babylon 5? They are about half way to mythical status.

A Fantasy is a Myth waiting to be born.

Curtis a.k.a. Sphinx: The only Mythical Creature in Two Buttes
(loth24)





A simple answer to a confusing question

where Myths end and Fantasy begins... Well i believe a myth is something that defines a culture... Helps to show why a culture behaves one way or worships someone for some reason.

Myths are explanations to confusing things in life.

Fantasy. Fantasy is something that has no relevance to a culture or religion. Fantasy are things that come from your wildest dreams and the world of fiction.

Fantasy is a release from the modern world.

- Carissa
G36





Myth is something People USED to believe in...

Myth & Fantasy:
If I'm not mistaken, myth is something people USED to believe in. Like the ancient greek gods. Greeks used to believe in harpies and Gorgon, so while they just seem like monsters to us, they are myth because someone once _believed_. Sometime back there, there is the possibility that Arthur (or someone like him) existed. Hence myth.

Fantasy is something people think never ever existed. Figments of the imagination. Elves, fairies, mermaids... The trouble is that there is no doubt that people once believed in these as well, so why are they fantasy now? Well I think it's association. Tolkein's middle earth was obviously pure fantasy. So by association, elves became fantasy as well. Fairies are so similar to elves (when you think of one, there's the other). And mermaids, trolls... they appear in fairy tales, don't we? So -- association.

Now about Vallejo... Everybody associates him with the fantasy genre. So making his _Icarus_ a fantasy piece is probably nothing more than a marketing ploy. Either that or people out there can't tell the difference anyway so who cares?

- Gin May
Realm Silveyrna
Elfwood Amatuer Fantasy/Sci-Fi Art Galleries
Mercedes Lackey Fan Art





Fantasy art deals mainly with things that were invented by imagination...

In my opinion mythology deals with legends of heroes and the gods of old cultures, e.g. the ancient greeks or egyptians. This legends are tales and no one knows if they are true or have a true part or are completely untrue and only appeared out of the fantasy of people that feared admired something so strongly that they began to add some facts to a true story that began to change and got change more and more as often as it was told.

In fantasy art you deal mainly with creatures heroes or sometimes normal citizens of a world that was invented by someones imagination. But this person's imagination was surely inspired by the tales he was told in his youth or he read by himself, so the lines between mythology and fantasy become blurred.

I would say, that fantasy art is a generic term that includes mythologic art and mythologic art is that kind of fantasy that deals with persons, creatures and things that are described in some sort of legend.

- Rene








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