Actual Size (W x H): 163cm x 98cm [ 64.22" x 38.61" ]
John William Waterhouse: Hylas and the Nymphs - 1896
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Stories of the Naiades could take the form of cautionary tales with unhappy endings. The Naiad, Nomia, fell in love with a handsome shepherd named Daphnis and could not do enough for him. He repaid her love with unfaithfulness and she repaid his inconstancy by blinding him. The Naiades of a spring in Bithynia (Mysia) took a liking to Hylas (companion of Heracles) and lured him into their waters. The cautionary element is uncertain here. The fate of Hylas could have been either an abrupt death by drowning or everlasting sexual bliss.
Other stories of the Naiades were explanations of the origins of immortals and mortals. The sun god, Helios, mated with Aegle (renowned as the most beautiful of the Naiades) to produce the Charites. Melite, a Naiad of the Aegaeus River in Corcyra, had a liaison with Heracles and became the mother of Hyllus. Naiades were the lovers of Endymion, Erichthonius, Magnes, Lelex, Oebalus, Otrynteus, Icarius, Enops, and Thyestes and were therefore co-founders of important families. Medea, the Musical Home Page
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