John William Waterhouse, like John Singer Sargent, was born in Italy to expatriate parents, later moved to London and spent a lifetime as a pre-eminent student and star of the Royal Academy of Art. When still studying at the Academy the young Waterhouse soon began participating in the annual summer exhibitions, with much of his early work featuring imagined reproductions of scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. While later in his career Waterhouse embraced the mid-nineteenth century Pre-Raphaelite style of painting despite its waning from public taste, the artist retained a fervent interest and passion for conjuring imagined reproductions of mythological life, as can be seen in his 1903 canvas Echo and Narcissus. Conjuring an image of the poem Echo and Narcissus from Ovid's Metamorphoses, the canvas features stylistic and thematic content that could easily classify the work as that of the Pre-Raphaelites.
In Echo and Narcissus Waterhouse staged an imagined reproduction of Ovid's version of the myth in which Narcissus, the son of the river god Cephissus, was told he would live to a healthy old age if he never caught a glance of himself. Narcissus rejected all the women that fell for him, including the nymph Echo, who became so upset by the rejection that she withdrew from the world and wasted away. When her plea to the goddess Nemesis was heard, the vengeful being cursed Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. Once he caught sight of himself he stared at the reflection until he died.
Comparisons aside, in his highly distinctive, dreamily romantic style, Waterhouse forged a rendering of the classics that was more than a simple imitation of the Pre-Raphaelite style. Echo and Narcissus is a haunting and sensual work, imbued with a contrasting innocence and beauty that defies the terrible fate of the mythical subjects that Waterhouse conjured throughout his career.
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If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Echo and Narcissus 1903, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Echo and Narcissus 1903 that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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