Circe Invidiosa

Circe Invidiosa
Artist John William Waterhouse
Year 1892
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 179 cm × 85 cm (70 in × 33 in)
Location Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Circe Invidiosa is a painting by John William Waterhouse completed in 1892. It is his second depiction, after Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891), of the Greek mythological character, Circe, this time while she is poisoning the water to turn Scylla, Circe's rival for Glaucus, "into a hideous monster". Anthony Hobson describes the painting as being "invested with an aura of menace, which has much to do with the powerful colour scheme of deep greens and blues [Waterhouse] employed so well".[1] Those colours are "near stained glass or jewels", according to Gleeson White.[2] Judith Yarnall also echoes the sentiment about the colours, and mentions an "integrity of line" in the painting. She says that taken as a pair, Waterhouse's Circes prompt the question: "is she goddess or woman?"[3]

Circe Invidiosa is part of the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, which also owns Waterhouse's The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius.[4]

Waterhouse later returned to the subject of Circe a third time with The Sorceress (c. 1911).

See also


  1. Hobson, Anthony. 1989. J. W. Waterhouse. Oxford: Phaidon Christie's. pages 48-49, 52. ISBN 0-7148-8066-3
  2. White, Gleeson. 1909. The Master Painters of Britain. International Studio. page 318.
  3. Yarnall, Judith. 1994. Transformations of Circe: The History of an Enchantress. University of Illinois Press. page 166
  4. Art Gallery of South Australia: Collection
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