Thursday, January 31, 2008
Another painting inspired by a story.
by Caravaggio (1573-1610)
"Narcissus was so handsome everyone loved and desired him, but Narcissus was too proud to offer his love in return. His rejection of one would-be lover, Echo, turned her from an unhappy nymph into the barest wisp of what she had been. Echo shriveled up until all that was left of her was her voice, what we now call by her name.
Not all the would-be lovers of Narcissus were so passive. One of them took his complaint about rejection to the goddess of vengeance, Nemesis. The rejected suitor asked the goddess Nemesis to make Narcissus fall in love with himself, but simultaneously to be incapable of accepting his own love. Nemesis obliged....
On a hot day Narcissus bent down to drink from a clear, silvery pool. As he drank, he saw a beautiful image in the pool. He had never before caught a glimpse of himself. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. He tried to kiss and embrace it -- encouraged because he saw the other raising his lips to meet Narcissus' own -- but couldn't. Narcissus could do nothing except keep trying. In time he realized he was in love with his own reflection."
From Narcissus and Echo in Ovid's Metamorphoses: Tiresias Warns About Narcissus By N.S. Gill, About.com