The Sirens and Ulysses 1837

 
 
William Etty 1784 - 1849
 
The subject is from ancient Greek poem The Odyssey it represents the scene from Homer's narrative where Ulysses leads his men past the monstrous Sirens.
In mythology these creatures lure sailors to their island with songs so enchanting that men die listening.
Ulysses escapes the sirens by being lashed to his ship and by ordering his men to stuff their ears with wax.
The artist modelled the dead bodies in the foreground on real corpse which he had sketched in morgues, Often derided by the critics for the overt nudity in his works Etty was particularly scorned for the "Sirens and Ulysses" because of its juxtaposition of nudity and death.
The painting was bought from the artist by Daniel Grant a Mancunian cotton mill farmer.
 
When I saw the painting in Manchester Art Gallery I couldn't take my eyes off it, its amazing I kept going to walk away I just kept stopping and sitting back down, this painting is just incredible.
It stopped me in my tracks.
 
 
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