My recently painting, Laocoön, was unsurprisingly inspired by these famous versions of the myth. The story involves the Trojan War, Odysseus' cunning, the gods' wrath, a ruse and a priest - upon angering the gods, Laocoön and his sons are devoured by sea serpents.
The large marble piece below is one the most famous in art history. Buried in the earth for hundreds of years and discovered in a field during the Renaissance, this piece dazzled its finders (Michelangelo came immediately to witness it) and viewers ever since. A perfect example of Hellenistic carving, it embraces the heightened drama and graceful power of the period.
By Hagesandros, Athenedoros, and Polydoros - Marie-Lan Nguyen (2009), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1302927
This painting by the Mannerist painter El Greco - created some 1,700 years after the marble above - is one that I love to visit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The heightened drama and pain exist in this interpretation of the myth as well, and the grace here is punctuated with raw expression.
By El Greco - WQGAoHxyYQDzkQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21996733
Lastly, the strokes I used to create the "serpent" in my painting were inspired by the the fluid and simple marks of Zen "Ensō" paintings. Ensō embrace one spontaneous stroke of a brush to create an imperfect circle. Though the continuous line in my painting isn't a circle, I still wanted to adopt this honest and simple mark to capture the energy of the moment.
By Kanjuro Shibata XX "Ensō (円相)" - Own work, uploaded by Jordan Langelier from his personal collection, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=551770