Liskamm and Castor from the Pollux (The Heavenly Twins)

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The peaks of Monte Rosa, Liskamm and Castor as seen from the summit of Pollux. The mountains in this picture represent some of the highest glaciated terrain in Switzerland and straddle the frontier between Italy. They are capped with a covering of snow all year round and can be skiied in the summer months.

This painting was made as a response to a visit the artist made to climb the mountains in this picture in 2012. Whilst on this trip Alexander was given the chance to climb with world-renowned mountain guides in Zermatt. He successfully summated Monte Rosa, Switzerland’s highest peak, Castor, Pollux, and the Briethorn. The expedition was awared as first prize to Alexander for winning the Mountain Tracks Photography Prize in 2012. The expedition also successfully raised a large sum for Cancer Research UK. 

In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri. Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.

In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair was regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire, and were also associated with horsemanship.