Henry Fuseli

Polyphemus hurling the rock at Odysseus

Polyphemus hurling the rock at Odysseus by Henry Fuseli

Artwork Detail

Homer’s Odysseus IX describes Odysseus entering the cave of the one-eyed Cyclops, Polyphemus, who promptly devours some of the hero’s fellow sailors. Odysseus lulls the monster to sleep with wine, and then drives a sharpened stake into his eye. He and his crew then escape by binding themselves to the underside of Polyphemus’s sheep. Setting sail for Aeolia, Odysseus taunts the giant who retaliates by throwing rocks at the departing ship, invoking the curse of his father, Poseidon. The rocks are purported to be the Scogli de’ Ciclopi (the Rocks of the Cyclops) in eastern Sicily.

Polyphemus hurling the rock at Odysseus
Henry Fuseli
Production date
circa 1819
pencil, grey wash, blue wash and brown wash
460 x 300 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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