Henry Hugh Armstead

Hero and Leander

c.1875

Medium
Marble
Dimensions
Object: 1257 x 1829 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by the artist 1906
Reference
N02054

Display caption

This marble relief and the adjacent painting by William Etty show two episodes from the same classical story of two young lovers, Hero and Leander. Etty depicts the moment as the lovers say their final farewell: the moon in eclipse, symbol of impending disaster, foretells the tragedy of Leander's drowning. Armstead shows Hero embracing her dead lover, watched over by an eagle, symbol of Jupiter, the god who ordered the affairs of all other gods and men.

Gallery label, September 2004