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Actaea, the Nymph of the ShoreEnlarge image

Actaea, the Nymph of the Shore, 1868

Frederic Leighton
British, 1830 - 1896
oil on canvas
57.2 x 102.2 cm
Gift of the Savile Gallery, London, England, 1930
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3721)

In Greek mythology, Actaea was one of the Nereids or sea nymphs, the fifty daughters of the sea god Nereus, who lived in the Aegean. She is portrayed watching her dolphin companions from the shore. Such classical references allowed the Victorians to accept this erotic image. The distant coastline is one that the artist recorded while visiting Rhodes in 1867.

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