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Historically Accurate Megara by Wickfield Historically Accurate Megara by Wickfield
Being the history geek that I am, I guess it is kind of surprising that I haven't really done a "historically accurate" animation series before, but after seeing that awesome Buzzfeed Disney Princess video, and of course all the amazing art on here, I was inspired to make my own.  I guess it is better late than never!

As I've said before elsewhere, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not at all bothered by the animated designs of the characters in Disney and Dreamworks films. They weren't documentaries after all so in most cases they didn't need to be accurate, and in animation in particular, it is more important to convey character and style in the designs.  I am not trying to "fix" anything because I don't think there is anything to fix!  That being said, it can still be fun to learn how your favorite characters might have looked if they had existed in real life.  :) (Smile)  

For my series, I am trying to be as accurate as I possibly can.  I'm taking the country of origin, the social class, the culture, and the specific decade into mind (instead of just a general sweep of multiple decades), and also adapting the colors and styles to fit what was available and worn everyday.  I will try to keep the characters recognizable where I can, but I want to make my pictures realistic and so some elements of the original designs might be altered in the process.

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I hadn’t originally intended to draw Megara in this series, because first of all I don’t plan on drawing ALL the Disney women, and anyway, I knew it would probably turn out a lot like Shoomlah’s awesome version of a Classical Greek Megara, which would be pretty redundant.  ;P  But when I started looking at Disney’s Hercules, I realized something – it is actually supposed to be taking place during the Mycenaean period of Greek culture, not the classic period, like the art would suggest.  Now of course the Disney version does not equal the mythological version in the majority of ways, so I would have been fine assuming this was just a Classic Era re-telling, but even the Disney movie is placing the action, by its own account, in the “Age of Heroes,” which roughly corresponds to the historic Bronze Age.  It is apparently supposed to be occurring in a timeline soon after the Trojan War, since the Disney version of Philoctetes (who is mortal) trained heroes like Achilles and Odysseus (in the TV series Hercules also went to school with Helen of Troy and Cassandra).  This actually fits in fairly nicely with the “historical” periods when some scholars suggest Hercules/Herakles would have lived, in the 13th century BC.   So like a lot of Hollywood “Greek” movies, there is  a completely Classical-style art design, with a Bronze Age story – the historic equivalent of dressing the Egyptians in medieval fashion. :XD:  So for this one (similar to my picture of Jasmine), I would just have to ignore the clothing and general art style to create something that Megara would actually wear if the timeline in the movie were historically accurate.  After all, it had lots of 1990s fashion too, but that didn’t mean it was taking place in the 90s.

Finding accurate clothing was hard, though, because the only evidence we have about the way Mycenaean women would dress comes from very fancy religious figures and frescoes – there’s not much information on how a middle class common woman, like Disney’s Meg, would dress.   I usually like to use primary sources for my historic Disney pics, but this time I had to start with some artistic interpretations of middle class or working women, like this, this and this.  In addition to a few Mycenaean images that showed short-sleeved tunics, I think that these artists also based their works on the clothing worn by the earlier Assyrians, the Phonecian women and later Etruscan women, because these cultures either influenced or shared traits with Mycenaean Greeks.

  You don’t really see any pink or lavender clothing in Mycenaean artwork – they probably could have worn it, since they had access to madder dyes, but for a more authentic look I decided to take some artistic license and give Meg a blue dress with black stripes, since blue shows up all the time in Mycenaean art.  Black is the color that represented Hades in real-life Greek mythology, and obviously Hades’ realm was blue in the movie, so I thought it was an appropriate combo considering she “serves” him.  I left in the orange stripes to add a little warmth and show Meg is not part of the underworld yet!  (It is mostly based off this image: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/7…)

In imitation of her trademark ponytail, I did a slightly simplified version of the cascading hairstyles shown in the frescoes, a “poor man’s” version if you will.  There is evidence that the Mycenaens also used makeup similar to the Egyptians – kohl and galena for the eyes, red ochre for the lips and cheeks, and lead powder for white foundation.  It is unknown whether common women would wear these cosmetics, but the Greeks were highly influenced by the Egyptians during this time period, and Egyptians of all classes wore kohl, at least.  The attendants in the frescos also had very stylized eyes, so I decided to compromise a bit and give Meg smoky kohl eyes and slightly more natural makeup elsewhere.  Lastly, I added some pieces of jewelry based on surviving Bronze Age examples.  She is wearing plain bronze bangles, like the bracelets worn in the Myceanaen art, and spiral earrings to imitate the clasps on her gown in the movie.

Anyway, this was one of the tougher drawings to research so far, and it will probably be controversial or something, but it was kind of fun to have a different take on Megara’s “look,” so I hope you all like it anyway. ^_^

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:iconfirecat15:
Firecat15 Featured By Owner 9 hours ago
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner 1 hour ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'll have to check it out.
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:iconlibrarianwho:
LibrarianWho Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Mycenaean history is so interesting, and this artwork is awesome!
Have you heard of Jackie French's book Oracle? It's about two children in a mountain village who become dancers for the king in the Mycenaean court. It gives a lot of insight into what life might have been like for the middle-upper class citizens, and I recognise some of the details (like the makeup), since they show up a bit in the book.
Anyway, I'm off to look at the rest of this series, it's absolutely fascinating.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes totally, I just wish we knew more about it! The oldest time periods are so mysterious, guess that makes them more interesting. :)

And thanks, I'll have to look that book up.
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017
Very classy. :D
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017
You're welcome!
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:iconsleepwalker48:
Sleepwalker48 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2017
This series is great! It's a pretty interesting idea, especially for a history nerd for me as well haha.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So glad you enjoyed it! :)
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:iconthemorlock:
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you! Finally artwork of Greek mythology in the accurate period. I do wonder if Meg would be dressed more well to do, though, being a servant to the god of wealth.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!  Meg's design was based off some depictions of temple attendants from the Mycenaean era so theoretically that might be what she would wear if she were serving a god, I thought.  I didn't want to make her as fancy as a priestess or as destitute as an ancient Greek slave would have been, so in between felt right!
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:iconthemorlock:
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2016  Student General Artist
Ah, there you go.
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:iconhcshannon:
HCShannon Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My brother-in-law is Greek (as in, he was originally from Greece, but immigrated to the United States) and I feel so dumb because I know know so little about Greek history and culture beyond mythology! This is pretty neat!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gosh, I didn't either! And It never occurred to me there was ever any Greek clothing other than what you see on statues and vases.
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:iconuyr-uka:
Uyr-Uka Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015
Exciting! She looks so mysterious, almost austere! I love the way you incorporated some of her movie design, here...it was just well adapted!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well since most of the pictures of Mycenaean ladies were priestesses, maybe some of that rubbed off on Meg's design. ;)
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:iconmountainlygon:
MountainLygon Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Meg is a princess, so I for one would like to see what her royal outfit would look like.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, in the Disney movie (and the TV series when she's younger), there isn't really any indication that Megara was supposed to be a princess until she married Hercules (and I also checked the Disney Wiki to make sure I hadn't missed something, lol).  I think Disney made her a commoner to make her more different from Hercules.  But if I had drawn the Megara from the original myth, where she was the princess of Thebes, she'd probably look like this: ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I…
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:iconletadarnell:
LetaDarnell Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Because of the framing (the muses), I actually thought the story took place in the late classic era (iron age).  I thought the movie was supposed to be like the Illiad, told much later (there's at least one part where Homer stops the narration to explain history to a newer generation, so they'd understand historical context).  Also due to the name (I know they used Greek names for Gods, but Hercules is the Roman name for Heracles).

But I'm not complaining at all.  It's great to see much older Greek stuff, especially stuff as beautiful as this.

My only question: would she be that white?
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Edited Apr 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was kind of thinking that too, that maybe the Muses were acting in a later era to tell the story that takes place in an earlier era.  (It would have to be at least the 7th century for that idea because of the black-on-red pottery.)  When Homer told the story in real life, he actually included a bunch of details about the Mycenaean era within the story, which is how some modern historians have been able to recreate some of the armor (and which is how I designed my historic Hercules' armor).  It would have been cool if the Muses were more Classical Greek, but when it flashed back to the story, it was the earlier time period. :)

As far as Megara's skintone, I basically just tried to stick to the skintone she had in the movie.  I think it is still accurate since almost all the depictions of Mycenaean women (and women in Greek art in general) showed them as very fair.  This could have possibly been makeup, but in my research it said that Greek women were also probably fairer because they didn't go outside very much due to cultural norms.  There were depictions of more "African" people too though, as at this point Greece was a very multicultural region, so the idea that ALL Grecians were lily-white is not correct either.  
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:iconletadarnell:
LetaDarnell Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Makes sense.  Also, she was a princess, so she'd be rather pale for whatever skin tone she had.
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2015   Digital Artist
The tunic has a really ancient feel to it, I love it. I also really like her hairstyle.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you like it!  I actually updated the description with a few more reference images.  I wasn't crazy about having to improvise but I felt like I got a pretty good "Bronze Age" look. ^_^
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015   Digital Artist
Based on the images you linked to, it seems pretty legit, though.
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:iconaniek90:
aniek90 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Amazing again, I love this Mycenaean take, I hadn't thought about it before. And I really do like that the color of the accessories compliment the clothing so well :) 
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconiglybo:
Iglybo Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
nice ^^
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Some how I don't think this is historical accurate for the Mycenaean Age. This reminds me too much of the clothes worn at the time of Homer (around 800 BC). As far as I remember Mycenaean colthing was very similiar to the preceeding Minoan clothing.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did you check out the link in the description?  I think you are thinking of upper-class Mycenaean clothing (i.e. the super fancy bare-breasted clothing), which was taken from Minoan culture.  However, in both cultures that kind of clothing is believed to be ceremonial, and is limited to goddesses and priestesses in the art - and if it was ever worn by "real people," it would have probably been noblewomen, not commoners.  I took the inspiration for Meg's clothing from the religious attendants in Mycenaean art, who dress more simply, like this:  

s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/7…
s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/7…
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
I think that Megara should wear something similiar to this: imgix.scout.com/150/1501399.jp…
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Edited Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is a depiction of Helen of Troy, though - Mycenaean royalty.  While I admit Megara would look pretty awesome in that kind of fashion, historical periods were WAY more rigid when it came to distinguishing among classes, and the clothing of a princess would have been flat out forbidden to a commoner.  I suspect that the same artist would depict Helen's servants wearing clothes similar to what Meg wears here.

In fact, if I were to draw Hera, or the Muses, I would likely draw them in the kind of clothing Helen wears.
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
No, he did not. I've found another image by the same artist showing the festivities in Troy after the Greeks seemlingly left (and left the famous horse behind9. And the women in that image wear similiar clothes: 106.imagebam.com/download/cupv…
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Yes, I did. Both frescoes show us women wearing what you call upper-class clothing. The new link you've pasted in your reply is just an artist's interpretation and thus cannot always taken for face value. The clothing worn by the woman on the left seems to be geniue Mycenaean but the clothing worn by the woman on th right seems to be several centuries younger (and thus post dark age Greek). If I remember correctly Mycenaean women wore the same type of clothing a s the Minoans, the only difference is that they (often(?)) covered their breasts, which (as far as we know) Minoan women never did.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of information on middle-class clothing from that era because it is so ancient, so there's a lot of deductive reasoning involved.  I try to use primary sources where I can, but sometimes they don't exist.  In the primary sources, religious attendants are shown wearing simpler garments without as many layers and trims, so I picked the simpler fashion over the fancier one, and since Mycenaean art is so stylized, I used secondary sources for ideas about realistic garment cut and shape.  During this time period (and through much of history, actually), a belted tunic is pretty standard wear for people of lower classes, including nearby influencing cultures on Mycenaean Greece, so it's not unrealistic to assume that Greek clothing would be similar.  At any rate, it would definitely be inaccurate to portray Megara in what is known to be upper-class or ceremonial Mycenaean/Minoan clothing, so there would be no point in drawing her in those fashions, it would be even less accurate than what I've depicted here.  
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
But the belted tunic was only worn by men not by women. Every single source about Mycenaean clothing I know says that women wear clothing similiar to the Minoan style (sometimes without the many-layered skirts and always with covered breasts). Thus putting her in a skirt-less variant of the Minoan dress with covered breasts would be much more accurate than your interpretation which in my opinion is not Mycenaean but early Greek.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My sources say they would wear a plain tunic either with or without a girdle/belt, and any time I see an artistic interpretation of a Mycenaean lower class woman, that is what they are wearing.  :shrug: I guess when the only primary source of material is highly stylized art, there's room for a lot more questions than more recent periods where you have well-documented clothing for all the classes.  
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:iconbarbarossarotbart:
barbarossarotbart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Okay, it is your decision but I still think that her clothes are too Greek and not Mycenaean enough. Give her a V neck line down to the girdle and it wouel be much more accurate.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, if I ever decide to do remakes of any of these pics, I'll keep your ideas in mind. ;)
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:iconburningresurrection:
BurningResurrection Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015
really impressive
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconoginz:
OginZ Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015
Wow, it's getting more and more interesting! :heart: Thank you for your research and explanations, I love them!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you are enjoying the series!  I like to include some sort of "documentation" in the description so that you know I'm not just making this stuff up. ;P
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:iconoginz:
OginZ Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Oh, you don't need to, really! :hug:
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:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is awesome!! I love all the research you've put in this drawing... the hairdo and the clothes are simply magnificent, and I like how your description puts all the little details in perspective!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!  I was afraid my descriptions were getting a little too long, but if you guys don't mind reading them I'm glad to share the history behind the designs!
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:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
for me, they're not too long and they're really interesting... but then, I write pretty long descriptions, too...

I think one should write what ones wants to say, long or not, and then people are free to read it or not! :D
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that's a good way of looking at it! ^_^
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:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
:)
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:iconprismwings:
PrismWings Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015  Student
I love your historical character series!
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