Waterhouse, John William

British, (1849-1917)

  • John William Waterhouse - Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses
  • Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses

  • (1891), oil on canvas
  • 36.3 x 58.7 in. (92 x 149 cm.)
  • Oldham Gallery
  • Editor’s Note:

    Circe sits enthroned, her wand held aloft in her left hand and a cup of some potion in her right. In the mirror behind her we see reflected Odysseus’ ship on her right and Odysseus himself on her left. Odysseus is grasping the hilt of his sword as if about to draw it. There is a hog at Circe’s feet and another looks out from behind the thrown on Circe’s right – members of Odysseus’ crew transformed by Circe’s magic.

About the Artist

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter who is most famous for his depictions of female characters from Greek and Arthurian mythology.

Waterhouse was one of the final Pre-Raphaelite artists, being most productive in the latter decades of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th, long after the era of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Because of this, he has been referred to as “the modern Pre-Raphaelite”, and incorporated techniques borrowed from the French Impressionists into his work.

Waterhouse regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, he also taught at the St. John’s Wood Art School, joined the St John’s Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council. [DES-01/11]

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