The Mural at Met Life, St. Louis




The images convey the day in the life of a businessman whose quotidian adventures mirror or echo those of Ulysses in the Odyssey. He appears nine times, bearded and in a business suit, first in the morning at Soulard’s Market (all the locations are recognizable St. Louis locations), which evokes the lotus eaters,

then passes beneath the legs of the Met Square
building itself in the left part of panel 2, as if under the legs of the blinded Polyphemus, on to pass the siren-like secretaries who also enter the building.

In panel 3 he navigates a walkway in the old warehouse district, then under renovation, meeting an old man who might resemble Tiresias in Hades.
Panel 4 is set in the St. Louis Art Museum, where the statue of Poseidon really does exist, though the spiral staircase which refers to the whirlpool of Scylla and Charybdis is invented; I see him as torn between the rock all of rigid order and the vortex of dissolution.
In Panel 5 he visits the zoo, where the monkeys might refer to Circe’s conversion of Ulysses’ men to swine.
Enchanted by Calypso in the left section of panel 6, under a band shell that sits on an island in St. Louis’ beautiful park, he becomes aware of the attentions paid to his wife, a Penelope like figure to the right of the panel.
Harmony returns to his suburban home and family in the last panel, which takes us back to the first after we gap the entrance to the lobby, so the whole cycle becomes a repeating journey of days.