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“Jealous Circe” hovers above the water, pouring poison, maybe at this very moment inventing the phrase “green with envy.”
Inspired by the Greek myth, Waterhouse depicts the goddess Circe, who has a reputation for transforming men into beasts, casting a spell by pouring a lurid potion into the sea. Just below the surface, a sea monster begins to form. Circe, with her vast knowledge of concoctions based on herbs, does her work with a frightening focus. The painting displays Waterhouse's continuing fascination with the single figure, usually a woman, combined with themes of magic and water, as in The Mermaid, The Siren, and his most famous work The Lady of Shalott.
Circe holds her vessel of poison chin high, the vertical stream of green liquid repeating Circe's verticality and the shape of the painting itself. The overall palette for the painting is a combination of greens: blue-greens, turquoise, and marine blue. The intensity of the colors demands attention, but it is Circe's expression that holds our interest. She is magnificent, brooding and mysterious. The simple setting, a dark and cool-toned underground grotto, does not distract from the action. With her powerful beauty, she casts a spell on enemy and viewer alike.
Circe Invidiosa is a virtuoso work of analogous colors--Waterhouse pushes the power of related colors to the extreme, using contrast and various tints to lead the eye through the action. Stained-glass like colors, created by painting on a white canvas to preserve the luminosity of the paint, are darker, more muted and more still in the background. The lighter and more vivid greens rush to the foreground where the wicked action takes place, giving the painting depth.
Waterhouse had attended a Pre-Raphaelite retrospective in 1886; his work, placing a beautiful woman in a mystical and water-themed setting draws a line directly to the movement established by William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, a half-century earlier. Carefully detailed, tragic stories painted in jewel tones, harkening back to Flemish artists was their hallmark. Millais' Ophelia is a perfect example of the Pre-Raphaelite style that took art critic John Ruskin's advice to “go to nature...rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing” literally. The Pre-Raphaelites were some of the first to take their easels outdoors to capture the bend and sway of each blade of grass.
Later in his career, fifty years after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Waterhouse picked up on their established subject line—serious themes that usually include a lesson--earning himself the nickname “the modern Pre-Raphaelite.” Despite the style having been passé for decades, Waterhouse took on their favorite topics but incorporated the techniques of the French painters of the time.
Contrasting with Circe's Pre-Raphaelite porcelain skin, the artist painted her gown in a more modern, impressionistic way. The brushwork of the circle pattern (Circe means circle in Greek, so this is sort of an in-joke for the well informed) is not minutely detailed but is loose and creates texture using visible brush strokes. Combining vivid, calm female subjects regardless of their dramatic situation with the loose brushwork of his fellow painters across the Channel, Waterhouse melded artistic movements.
Waterhouse often revisited themes--this painting of the sorceress is not his first approach to Circe. He had previously painted the same subject in 1891: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, she is seen having turned Ulysses's crew into lions, as she alluringly offers Ulysses himself the potion to drink. In 1911, Waterhouse will revisit Circe with The Sorceress.
As Waterhouse's painting career progressed, his works became larger and larger. Circe Invidiosa, painted in 1892, measures almost six feet tall by nearly three feet wide. As soon as Waterhouse completed the painting, it was purchased by the Art Gallery of South Australia where it is currently on display.
Real Oil Paints, Real Brushes, Real Artists, Real Art. The Certificate of Authenticity which arrives with every painting provides an assurance and verifies the authenticity of the hand painted fine art reproduction you purchased. Each oil painting is created by hand using only the finest canvas and oil paints available.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Circe Invidiosa 1892, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Circe Invidiosa 1892 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.
Free shipping is included in the price of the painting. Once the painting is ready and dry enough to ship, we will roll it and ship it in a sturdy cardboard tube.
We always ship express via courier to ensure your order reaches you as soon as possible - normally within three business days. The total delivery time from the moment you place your order until the package is delivered to your door is normally between three to four weeks.
If, in the unlikely event you were dissatisfied with the painting after reviewing it in person, it can be returned for a full refund for up to 365 days after delivery.
When you receive the painting; you are free to return it for more revisions or else for a full refund minus our actual shipping cost -- which is, on average, $25 per painting.
1st Art Gallery provides a full warranty covering manufacturing and material defects for paintings purchased from our website. The warranty covers damage for normal use. Damage caused by incidents such as accidents or inappropriate use are not covered.
Depending on the degree of damage to the warranted painting, it will either be repaired or replaced. This warranty service is provided free of charge.
When purchasing a painting on its own, it will arrive rolled inside a secure tube with an extra 1.5" of white canvas on all sides so you can easily frame it in any local frame shop.
You may choose to purchase your painting framed, in which case, it will arrive "ready to hang". We offer more than 20 beautiful models, all hand finished and expertly assembled by our experienced framers.
Note that for safety reasons we can only frame up to a certain size. Once the maximum size is reached the framing option is automatically disabled.
If you are planning to frame your painting yourself,
use an existing frame, or frame it locally, you may choose to order your painting with a stretching service,
meaning that it will arrive mounted on wooden bars.
If you're considering not framing your painting at all, you may opt for a Gallery Wrap. The term Gallery Wrap refers to the way the canvas is stretched, which is by wrapping it around thick stretcher bars, about 1.5 inch thick, with the canvas being secured to the back rather than the sides of those bars.
All orders ship with UPS, FedEx or DHL and will arrive directly to your home or office. A tracking number will be emailed to you as soon as the order leaves our studio so you can track it online. All orders ship express and usually arrive within 4-5 days from the shipping date. Due to shipping restraints, many of our framed, stretched, and oversize paintings may take 6-21 days for arrival depending on the safest route determined by the postal service.