woman in deep red dress seated at table
Oil on canvas
86.3 cm × 77.2 cm (34 in × 30.4 in)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Circe is the title given to two oil on canvas sketches by the English artist John William WaterhouseJohn William Waterhouse was an English artist known primarily for his depictions of women set in scenes from myth, legend or poetry. He is the best known of that group of artists who from the 1880s revived the literary themes favoured by the Pre-Raphaelites. ; he worked on both during the final years of his career from 1911 to 1914.[1] Waterhouse had previously depicted Circe in his paintings Circe Offering the Cup to UlyssesAn oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style by John William Waterhouse, created in 1891. in 1891 and Circe InvidiosaCirce Invidiosa is a painting by John William Waterhouse completed in 1892. It is his second depiction of the Greek mythological character, Circe. in 1892.

Both sketches show Circe seated at a marble table, surrounded by her magical accoutrements.[1] She sits despondently contemplating Odysseus – known as Ulysses to the Romans – encountering the sirens.[2]

Woman in pinkish red dress seated at table
Oil on canvas, occasionally referred to as The Sorceress
76 cm × 110.5 cm (29.9 in × 43.5 in)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The rectangular-shaped painting, which is occasionally given the alternative title of The Sorceress, bears the inscription Circe on the back. This sketch includes leopards, an allusion to the myth of Circe transforming her victims into wild animals.[3] She grips a magic wand in her hands, a prop which does not appear in the larger sketch, although both have her posed with her chin resting against her hands.[1]

Depictions of Circe by John William Waterhouse
Source: YouTube

Citations



Bibliography


Nahum, P. (n.d.). John William Waterhouse, Circe (The Sorceress). Retrieved from http://www.leicestergalleries.com/19th-20th-century-paintings/d/circe--the-sorceress/13926
Prettejohn, E. (2008). Circe c. 1911–1914. In E. Prettejohn (Ed.), J.W. Waterhouse: the modern Pre-Raphaelite (pp. 182–183). Royal Academy of Arts.
Trippi, P. (2010). J. W. Waterhouse (Reprinted in paperback). Phaidon Press.