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J.M.W. Turner

Mercury and Argus

1836, partly repainted 1840
Turner's romantic landscape has a classical subject. Seated on the rocks directly below the rays of the sun, with his back to us, Mercury lulls the shepherd Argus to sleep so that he can abduct the girl Io, for whom Jupiter had developed an overwhelming passion. He had transformed her into a white heifer, here identified by the red ribbon around her neck.
Title
Mercury and Argus
Date
1836, partly repainted 1840
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
151.8 x 111.8 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 1951
Accession number
5795