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Penelope Sacrificing to Minerva for the Safe Return of Her Son, Telemachus

Photo credit: National Trust Images

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Notes

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Penelope, accompanied by her attendants, is invoking the aid of Minerva (or Athene), represented by a statue standing on a round plinth. Telemachus, accompanied by Minerva (disguised as his old guardian Mentor) had set out to find his father, Ulysses, when he did not return home from the Trojan wars. He got waylaid and his mother is praying for his return.

The scene is told in Homer's 'Odyssey' but the artist may have used François Fénélon’s 'Les Aventures de Télémaque', published in 1699, as a source for the picture.

National Trust, Stourhead

Warminster

Title

Penelope Sacrificing to Minerva for the Safe Return of Her Son, Telemachus

Date

1774

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 150 x W 126.5 cm

Accession number

732292

Acquisition method

gift from Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare along with the estate, house and its contents, 1946

Work type

Painting

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National Trust, Stourhead

Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QD England

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