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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Castiglione, Giovanni Benedetto (il Grechetto)
Culture:Italian (ca. 1600 - ca. 1665)
Title:Circe and the Companions of Ulysses
Date Made:ca. 1650
Type:Print
Materials:etching on contemporary laid paper
Place Made:Italy
Measurements:sheet: 24.13 cm x 33.4963 cm; 9 1/2 in x 13 3/16 in; plate: 21.59 cm x 30.7975 cm; 8 1/2 in x 12 1/8 in
Narrative Inscription:  inscribed in plate at lower right center: G. BENED. CASTIGLIONUS / GENE... INSP in
Accession Number:  SC 1998.3.1
Credit Line:Purchased, Elizabeth Halsey Dock, class of 1933, Fund, Josephine A. Stein Fund, in honor of the class of 1927, and the gift of Sue Welsh Reed, class of 1958
1998_3_1.jpg

Description:
woman seated at left among ruins with books at her feet, peacock and goats at right

Label Text:
Circe is a complex character from Homer’s epic Greek poem, “The Odyssey.” In art she is mostly portrayed as a witch or enchantress of
the forest. In the poem, Ulysses and his men land on her island and,
after Circe provides them with a lavish meal, she transforms them into pigs. In this elaborate print by Giovanni Castiglione, inspired by Northern European printmaking traditions, we witness the moment after the transformation of the men.

Castiglione chose to show Circe alone in nature with her animals with no other men, or pigs, in sight. Leaning on one arm next to open books with magic spells, the attributes of a true witch, she points her wand at a pile of armor, the only reminder of the metamorphosis of Ulysses’ men. Her casual pose implies a certain ennui while simultaneously emphasizing her sense of control and independence. (hkdv 2017 cabinet label)

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