In this beautiful but somber painting, artist Frederic Leighton has depicted the Greek heroine Nausicaa. The story of Nausicaa appears in the Odyssey of Homer. In this epic poem, Nausicaa and Odysseus (the hero of the tale) meet and have a brief but memorable encounter. And it is made clear in the tale that the handsome hero Odysseus has awakened the desires of the young woman.
In this image, Nausicaa is represented standing against a wall, clad in garments inspired by ancient Greek art. The tones of the painting are muted, and the setting is simple. The lovely girl is portrayed with a pensive, perhaps wistful, expression.
One of the most striking things about this image is that it focuses solely on Nausicaa and her thoughts, rather than portraying the dramatic scene when she and Odysseus encounter each other for the first time. This emphasis on Nausicaa alone allows the viewer to appreciate the subtle beauty - and haunting story - of this compelling Greek figure.
More information about the role that Nausicaa played in Greek myth can be found at Mythography.
The Art of Lord Leighton
In this beautiful book, author Christopher Newall examines the life and works of eminent Victorian artist Frederic Leighton. The chapters deal with Leighton's evolution as a painter, from his early phase as "The Outsider", to success as "The President of the Royal Academy". And there are plenty of gorgeous color images to complement the text.