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This picture shows the dead Icarus from Greek mythology. He is surrounded by lamenting sea-nymphs. His father, the craftsman Daedalus, made wings out of wax so that he and his son might escape from the island of Crete. But, overcome by pride, Icarus flies too near to the sun, the wax melts, and he plunges to his death.This is Herbert Draper’s most famous picture. He belonged to the generation of British artists that was influenced by French Impressionism but Draper devoted himself to the historical and literary themes of Victorian artists such as Edward Burne-Jones.

July 2007