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Ulysses Before Circe, Mercury Behind

A work made of red chalk, with touches of wetted red chalk, on cream laid paper.

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  • A work made of red chalk, with touches of wetted red chalk, on cream laid paper.

Date:

1766

Artist:

Gaetano Gandolfi
Italian, 1734–1802

About this artwork

In this scene, Gaetano Gandolfi illustrated the moment from Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey when the hero violently confronts the enchantress Circe, who has transformed his men into swine. In the left foreground, several of Circe’s hybrid victims seem to be in the process of transforming back into men, while behind Ulysses the god Mercury ascends through an arch.

The drawing is a tour de force of compositional invention and technical skill, alive with energy and balletic form. Gandolfi’s expert use of the uncolored paper to express dramatic lighting in particular gives the work a kind of radiance.

On View

Prints and Drawings, Gallery 124B

Artist

Gaetano Gandolfi

Title

Ulysses Before Circe, Mercury Behind

Origin

Italy

Date

Made 1766

Medium

Red chalk, with touches of wetted red chalk, on cream laid paper

Dimensions

499 x 359 mm

Credit Line

Promised gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray

Reference Number

Obj: 202292

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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