Ulysses at the Palace of Circe

Object Details

Title:

Ulysses at the Palace of Circe

Artist/Maker(s):

Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg (Flemish, 1630 - about 1676)

animals by Carl Borromäus Andreas Ruthart (German, 1630 - 1703)

Culture:

Flemish

Date:

1667

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

88.9 x 121.6 cm (35 x 47 7/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Brant

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Behind a grove of trees, a building looms imposingly. The painting depicts a story taken from Homer's Odyssey, in which the sorceress Circe encounters the warrior Ulysses. Descending the palace stairs on the left, Circe greets Ulysses and offers him a magic potion. Previous to his arrival, the sorceress has given the same potion to Ulysses's men, who were then transformed into wild beasts. On the right, one man sports antlers while another one nearby is horrified to find his head changing into that of a wild boar. Unbeknownst to Circe, however, Ulysses has taken an herbal antidote given to him by Hermes. Ulysses will overcome the sorceress and force her to restore his men to their normal shape.

The tiny figures of Ulysses, Circe, and her entourage are secondary to the magnificently decorated palace, the lush landscape, and the assortment of lively animals. The painting is a collaborative effort of two painters: the Flemish artist Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg, a specialist in depicting architecture, painted the palace and garden house, while the German artist Carl Borromäus Andreas Ruthart was responsible for the naturalistic display of animals in the foreground.

Provenance
- 1803

Auguste-Louis-César-Hipolite-Théodore de Lespinasse de Langeac, comte d'Arlet [sold, Lespinasse d'Arlet de Langeac sale, Paillet & Delaroche, Paris, July 15, 1803, lot 286, to Dufour.]

1803 -

Dufour

- 1971

Thomas Brant (Los Angeles, California)

and Louise Brant (Los Angeles, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Exhibitions
Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973) (Cat. 14)
  • California State University, Northridge, February 26 to March 30, 1973
Classical Myth in Western Art: Ancient Through Modern (November 1, 1985 to March 2, 1986) (Cat. 21)
  • Meadows Museum and Gallery, Southern Methodist University, (Dallas), November 1 to December 22, 1985
  • Amarillo Art Center, (Amarillo), January 12 to March 2, 1986
Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Gifts of Paintings." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 3 (1976), pp. 114-15, 123, fig. 12.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 39, ill.