Henry Fuseli

Prometheus and Io

Prometheus and Io by Henry Fuseli

Artwork Detail

The nymph Io is seduced by Zeus, who then cunningly turns her into a beautiful white heifer (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound). His wife Hera isn’t fooled, and sends Io to wander the world, where she comes across Prometheus, who Zeus has bound to a rock on Mount Caucasus as a punishment for teaching humanity to make fire. In spite of his own suffering, Prometheus comforts Io, prophesying that she will return to human form and marry, and that one of her descendants will be Herakles (Hercules) who will eventually set Prometheus free. Fuseli breaks with tradition by depicting Io as a beautiful woman, rather than a heifer.

Prometheus and Io
Henry Fuseli
Production date
circa 1800-circa 1810
pen and ink with grey wash
690 x 490 x 30 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1965
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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