Painting of Echo and Narcissus Staring Into Narcissus' Reflection On The Water

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Painting of Echo and Narcissus Staring Into Narcissus' Reflection On The Water.

19th Century French School Allegory of Echo and Narcissus.

This genre painting is oil on canvas and measures approximately 26.5 inches tall by 34 inches wide.

In the frame the painting measure 30.5 inches tall by 40 inches wide.

Signed illegibly "Sta? Fortin". 

Here the artist captured a moment from Ovid’s Echo and Narcissus a well known fable of a beautiful youth named Narcissus.

Echo and Narcissus is a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses, a Greek mythological epic from the Augustan Age. The introduction of the myth of the mountain nymph Echo into the story of Narcissus, the beautiful youth who rejected sexuality and fell in love with his own reflection, appears to have been Ovid's invention. 

Men and women alike were enamored with his beauty, but Narcissus returned none of their affections. Then, a blind prophet Teiresias predicted that Narcissus would live to a ripe old age if only he does not encounter his own reflection.

Contrary to the title of the story and even to this very composition, in Ovid’s story Echo is really a tertiary character, one who has no effect on the causality of Narcissus’ fate. She is just a nymph, in love with a beautiful boy.

How then does Narcissus find himself at the fateful pond mesmerized by his reflection? Ovid tells us that Ameinias, a boy who was hopelessly in love with Narcissus begged the Gods to avenge his unanswered love.

A vengeful goddess Nemesis heard his prayer and led Narcissus to the pond where “Neither the shepherds nor the she-goats they tended on the hillside ever drank from it, nor did any other animal of the herd. Neither bird nor beast disturbed it…” There as Echo watched, unable to speak to her beloved, Narcissus fulfilled the prophesy and saw his reflection.

He lay on the grass, unable to tear himself from the fleeting beauty of his own face. Soon this inability to touch, to connect, to feel the love of the immaterial object of his affection, Narcissus began to go mad. Echo, unable to utter words of her own, retraced Narcissus’ last words with her own voice.

In his madness Narcissus pounded his chest until he died. As a pyre is prepared Narcissus’ body disappears. In its place a beautiful flower appears – a Narcissus.

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