This beautiful painting by Thomas Moran, above, caught my attention this summer with its delicacy and sweeping vision. Moran was an artist who was influenced by Turner, which explains the color and feel of the landscape. It’s a scene out of Homer’s The Odyssey as Ulysses’ ship and crew sailing by singing sirens, who would lure the sailors to their death. Anyone who has grown up with The Little Mermaid stories, or more recently has seen Pirates of the Carribean: on Stranger Tides should have an inkling that sirens are mermaid-like creatures who according to sources can change shapes–and whose weapon is their voice.
“They sang these words most musically, and as I longed to hear them further I made by frowning to my men that they should set me free; but they quickened their stroke, and Eurylochus and Perimedes bound me with still stronger bonds till we had got out of hearing of the Sirens’ voices.” [Homer’s Odyssey].
Other artists throughout history have chosen this scene to immortalize as well. Take Waterhouse’s version, in which the sirens are more frightening than alluring. Still, I like the drama and all the interaction within the piece.