Joseph Mallord William Turner

The ‘Death of Lycus’ [Lichas]

1805

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 143 x 228 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05867
Turner Bequest XCIV 15

Catalogue entry

Hercules hurls the servant Lichas over a cliff, as described in Book 9 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. For Ovid subjects in this sketchbook see note to folio 13 (D05865). This is the third and last of the three depicting episodes in the life of Hercules, following on from the fateful slaying of Nessus and the exchange of his poisoned cloak depicted on folio 14 (D05866). Afraid Hercules has been unfaithful to her, Deianera has sent Lichas to her husband with the cloak as a gift, unaware it is contaminated. As its poison grips him, Hercules gathers his remaining strength to turn on Lichas and hurl him into the Euboean Sea; as Lichas falls he turns into a rock.
Verso:
Blank, save for some splashes of ink or wash

David Blayney Brown
December 2007

Read full Catalogue entry

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