oil on canvas (50 x 100 cm)
THE NAIADES were fresh-water Nymphs who inhabited the rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, fountains and springs of the earth. They were immortal, minor divinities who were invited to attend the assemblies of the gods on Mount Olympos.
The Naiades, along with Artemis, were regarded as the divine nurses of the young, and the protectors of girls and maidens, overseeing their safe passage into adulthood. Similarly Apollon and the River-Gods (fathers of the Naiades) were the patron gods of boys and youths.
Many of the Naiades married local kings and played a prominent role in the genealogies of the royal families of myth. Others, such as the beautiful Naiad daughters of Asopos, were loved by the gods. They often gave their names to towns, cities and islands, and as such were most likely regarded as the goddess-protectors of the community's water supply, which usually consisting of a spring, stream-fed fountain, or well.
The Naiades were depicted in ancient art as beautiful, young women, either seated, standing or reclining beside their springs, and holding a hydria (water jug) or branch of lush foliage.