Joy of the Nereids, 1896
W. Blair Bruce
oil on canvas
277.4 x 265.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3361)
In Greek mythology, the water nymphs, or Nereids, protect sailors in peril at sea. However, here their function is entirely decorative and erotic as they frolic in the waves like the bathers Bruce painted at Capri. Intended to be hung high and viewed from below, the foreground figures are solidly depicted while the background figures meld into the waters. Bruce was one of Canada's first Impressionist painters. In this work, the fluid brushwork and bright palette create a luminous fantasy.