Today We, Zarathustra the Celestial Cat, reveal the true version of perhaps the most enigmatic of the famous American artist Thomas Cole’s allegorical or imaginary landscape scenes, “The Titan’s Goblet”, and finally explain its hidden meaning:
Cole often provided text to accompany his paintings but did not comment on The Titan’s Goblet, leaving his intentions open to debate. In the 1880s, one interpretation related Cole’s goblet to the world tree and specifically to the Yggdrasil in Norse mythology. Other theories tie the fantastic forms to J. M. W. Turner’s “Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus” (National Gallery, London), to Italian architecture and geological formations, or to the golden goblet of the sun-god Helios.
The last theory is true, as you may understand from the true version of the painting:
Sun-god Helios, represented by a playful ginger celestial cat is interested in what is happening inside the goblet. The inhabitants of the goblet have a Utopian existence, pleasure boating on the tranquil waters and living among the temples and leafy woods.
What attracted the attention of the embodied Sun?
You may notice the reason too, if you look deeply into the cat’s eyes:
Do you see the reflection of the giant shrimp hidden under the water surface on which three boats sail carelessly?
Yes, the Celestial Cat is going to save sailors from the sea monster, and not fish them and snack on them, as an ignoramus may think at first glance at the masterpiece!
Thomas Cole thoroughly staged this dramatic scene when We posed for him in his atelier, teasing Us with a tasty shrimp. You may see the reflection of the master and his assistant in our eye during the posing session:
Cole likely painted the picture in a fairly short period, given its small size and very thin application of paint. The canvas is very visible in the accompanying image, viewed at full resolution:
He did so without commission, purely for himself, and then hid the painting in a secret place and then created the commonly known enigmatic version
Now look at the commonly known version of the painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
You immediately see why nobody could understand clearly its message: the cat is missing there!
Thus speaks Zarathustra the Celestial Cat