T e l e m a c h u s a n d E u c h a r i s
Telemachus (center) and Eucharis (left) were lovers forced to part. The story is from Greek mythology, as retold by the French writer Fénelon in 1699.
Telemachus had set out to find his father, Odysseus (Ulysses), the famous hero of the Trojan War. The Goddess Athena (right) accompanied him disguised as his guardian, Mentor. They were shipwrecked on the island of the nymph Calypso, and Telemachus fell in love with Eucharis, one of Calypso's attendants. But Mentor intervened to part them, so the search for Odysseus could continue.
"Mentor...took Telemachus by the hand and led him towards the shore," wrote Fénelon. "Telemachus consented with silent reluctance, and looked behind him at every step." Neoclassical history paintings such as this were meant to be lessons in virtue, and duty invariably triumphs over love.
Oil on canvas, H.116 x W.99 in. overall
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Copyright ©1998-2001 Roy George