Hylas and the Nymphs (1896)
by John William Waterhouse
The painting depicts a moment from the Greek and Roman legend of the tragic youth Hylas, based on accounts by Ovid and other ancient writers, in which the enraptured Hylas is abducted by Naiads (female water nymphs) while seeking drinking water.
Hylas, a male youth in classical garb, wearing a blue tunic with a red sash, and bearing a wide-necked water jar. He is bending down beside a pond in a glade of lush green foliage, reaching out towards seven young women, the water nymphs, who are emerging from the pond among the leaves and flowers of Nymphaeaceae (water lilies), including an early depiction of the yellow waterlily, Nuphar lutea. The nymphs are naked, their alabaster skin luminous in the dark but clear water, with yellow and white flowers in their auburn hair. They have very similar physical features, perhaps based on just two models.
Hylas is being enticed to enter the water, from which he will not return. One of the nymphs holds his wrist and elbow, a second plucks at his tunic, and a third holds out some pearls in the palm of her hand. The face of Hylas in profile is shadowed and barely visible, but the faces of the nymphs are clearly visible as they gaze upon him. The scene is depicted from a slightly elevated position, looking down at the water like Hylas, so no sky is visible. Hylas's position forces the viewer's focus onto the nymphs in the water and the lack of reference to his relationship with Hercules emphasizes that the narrative of the painting is not about Hylas's experiences, but about the sinister nature of the nymphs.
11x17 Matte Poster
Printed with Dye/Pigment Reactive Ink On archival matte paper Shipped in heavy duty poster tube Heavy weight (230 gsm), thick base (9.5 mil), and an instant-dry coating that resists fingerprints and smudging.
- Printed with Dye/Pigment Reactive Ink
- On archival matte paper
- Shipped in heavy duty poster tube
- Heavy weight (230 gsm), thick base (9.5 mil), and an instant-dry coating that resists fingerprints and smudging.