Henry Fuseli

Circe absolving Medea and Jason of the killing of Medea's brother Absyrtos

Circe absolving Medea and Jason of the killing of Medea's brother Absyrtos by Henry Fuseli
Circe absolving Medea and Jason of the killing of Medea's brother Absyrtos by Henry Fuseli

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Circe, both goddess and sorceress, used herbal potions to control both men and wild beasts. Instead of the earlier focus on Medea's magical powers, here attention is drawn to the guilt she and Jason feel at the slaughter for which they are responsible. While this seems to reinforce the eighteenth-century belief that one must be responsible for one's actions, the effects of madness and irrationality were constant in Fuseli's art. Medea's pose is derived from Ripa's illustration of Melancholy in Iconologia, which had its final publication in 1764-66. (Monsters and Maidens, 2004)

[second image on reverse]

Title
Circe absolving Medea and Jason of the killing of Medea's brother Absyrtos
Artist/creator
Production date
1808
Medium
pencil with brown and grey wash
Dimensions
425 x 271 mm
Inscription
P.C. Aug. 08 (left side margin)
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1965
Accession no
1965/70
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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