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Mythological scene from the ancient Greek tale of Jason and the Argonauts, showing Hylas being tempted to his death by water nymphs. A young man, with short dark hair, kneels at the edge of a bank to the left, dressed in blue drapery with a red sash around his waist, a jug in his left hand. He leans forward towards one of the naked nymphs in the water, who holds onto his arm. She is surrounded by six more nymphs, all young naked girls who are nearly identical to one another. They wear white and yellow flowers entwined in their long dark hair and are gazing at him from the water. The water's dark surface is covered with lily pads and flowers, the gaps between the plants revealing the water's translucence, showing underwater lily stalks and further glimpses of the nymphs pale upper bodies.
Hylas and the Nymphs
oil on canvas
H 98.2 x W 163.3 cm
purchased from the artist, 1896
Signed blc : J.W.Waterhouse / 1896