Eye Candy for Today: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (details), John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse, oil on canvas, roughly 70 x 36 inches ( 175 x 92 cm); with preliminary sketch, both images on Wikimedia Commons; the original painting is in Gallery Oldham, but their website doesn’t offer details about the painting. The sketch is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

English painter John William Waterhouse — whose later work was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters — took the mythological character of Circe as his subject for three paintings.

In this one, inspired by the account in Homer’s Odyssey, the sorceress has used her knowledge of herbs and potions to turn Ulysses’ crew into swine, one of whom can be seen at her feet.

A regal Circe, seated on a lions head throne and clad in a diaphanous gown, holds a wand and a cup of the potion, both enticing and daring Ulysses to take what is offered. A wary Ulysses (Odysseus) can be seen in the mirror to our right, his ship to our left.

 
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One Reply to “Eye Candy for Today: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse”

  1. This is fascinating work. I would be interested in yo posting more of Waterhouse’s work and that of Alma-Tadema. I would be particularly interested in your comments.

    Do you believe Pyle was influenced by these painters?

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