Friday, April 2, 2010
Oil on Canvas Board 14 x 10 1/2in (35 x 27cm)
‘On the islands there are fairy-goddesses who hold seamen captive in the toils of love; among them, the goddess Circe who, when about to yield herself to the men who desire her, strikes them with her wand and changes them into lions, wolves, or other animals. . . . Other goddesses, such as the nymph Calypso, dwell in the islands of the sea. Thrown on to the shore near her grotto, Odysseus falls in love with her as a sailor in the Southern Ocean might with a fair Polynesian. But he more quickly wearies of his conquest than the nymph herself who for seven years keeps in her bed every night the audacious mortal she loves and whom shipwreck has deprived of the means of leaving her. But every day Odysseus goes to sit upon a rock on the shore and gaze for hours over the ocean-wastes that separate him from his homeland, from his wife and son and the domain of vineyards and ollive-groves. In the end Calypso is commanded by Zeus to let him go. She gives him an axe, a hammer and nails, and with these, not without fear, he builds a simple raft on which to brave the boundless sea.’
-- André Bonnard, Greek Civilization from the Iliad to the Parthenon, 1958, pp.64-65.