back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content

Arethusa

American Art

Search and Share Tools

Arethusa

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Benjamin West
American, 1738–1820

Date

1802

Medium

Oil on canvas

Accession #

2011.44

Dimensions

21 7/16 × 15 3/4 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 2, Gallery 205

Description

Among the first American-born artists to achieve international success, Benjamin West enjoyed a prolific career as the historical painter to England’s King George III and as president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

In this painting, West shows Arethusa, a chaste attendant of the goddess Artemis, as she is bathing—a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. West situates the viewer in the place of the river god Alpheus, who pursues Arethusa after seeing her bathing in a stream. Ovid’s story ends with Arethusa escaping Alpheus’s advances by transforming herself into a fountain.

Credit

Purchase with funds from Margaret and Terry Stent Endowment for the Acquisition of American Art