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John William Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs




A man talking to beautiful women

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Waterhouse's 'Hylas and the Nymphs' brings to life a version of the Greek myth, 'Jason and the Argonauts.' In it, Hercules is left on the island of Lemnos after his companion, the handsome Hylas, wanders away from the ship. Hylas comes across a group of Sea-Nymphs who, enchanted by his beauty, seduce him into loving them, eventually dragging him into the sea water with them. The Argo leaves Hercules and Hylas behind on the island, and Hylas is never found. Waterhouse's erotic depiction positions the nude Nymphs as femme fatales, the cause of Hylas's demise. They are colored in vibrant hues and radiate out of the canvas, clearly drawing the attention of the viewer. The nymphs, bathed in vibrant light and colour, stand out, contrasting the figure of Hylas, almost blending into the background patches of color, perhaps suggesting his impending death.
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