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Circe with Companions of Ulysses Changed into Animals

A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.




Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Italian, 1609-1664

About this artwork

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was a painter, printmaker, and draftsman who studied under Anthony van Dyck and Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari. He was known as a specialist in the depiction of animals, and the various creatures on the right of this etching show his dexterity. Circe, the daughter of the sun in Greek mythology, was a sorceress known for her ability to transform men into animals. In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe invites Ulysses and his men to a feast. During the meal, she drugs the men and turns them into pigs. Some art historians argue that because the animals in this etching are not pigs, the subject is actually the pensive figure of Melancholy, made famous by a 1514 Albrecht Dürer engraving.


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Prints and Drawings


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione


Circe with Companions of Ulysses Changed into Animals


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1650–1651


Etching on ivory laid paper


Image/sheet; cut within plate: 21.5 × 30.9 cm (8 1/2 × 12 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Prints and Drawings Purchase Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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