Circe oil on canvas 122.5 x 96.8 cm. (48¼ x 38 1/8 in.)
PROVENANCE: Purchased by the present owner at Galleria Pratesi, Florence, 1980s
The present composition is derived from other known versions by Furini; one can be found in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Lucca, and the other was sold at Sotheby's, London, 8 April, 1981, lot 46. An alternative attribution to Vincenzo Dandini (Florence 1607-1675) has been suggested.
In the Odyssey, Homer tells how the Greek hero Ulysses, and his companions came to Circe's island on their journey home from the Trojan war. Circe was to feed travellers with wines containing a magic potion which turned them into pigs, such was the fate of some of Ulysses's men. Ulysses, however, was warned by Mercury and took a herbal antidote to overcome the sorceress and forced her to return his men to their normal state.