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Paintings › View › Boreas 1902   
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  bullet  1902 . Oil on canvas
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John William Waterhouse: Boreas - 1902 John William Waterhouse: Boreas - 1902

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The Greek god of the North Wind who lived in Thrace. He is depicted as being winged, extremely strong, bearded and normally clad in a short pleated tunic. He is the son of Eos and Astraeus, and the brother of Zephyrus, Eurus and Notus.

Boreas has two sons, two daughters and twelve mares which can race over the ground without destroying the grain. When the Persian navy of Xerxes threatened the city of Athens, the Athenians begged his assistance. The Great Wind of the Wintery North blew his anger at the Persians and 400 Persian ships sank immediately. Among other violent acts he abducted Oreithyia, the daughter of the king of Athens, when she was playing on the banks of the Ilissus. In Latin, he is called Aquilo.
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The reappearance of Waterhouse's Boreas in the saleroom in the mid 1990s caused a sensation as it had been lost for 90 years. Called Boreas after the north wind in Greek mythology, the work shows a young girl in a windswept landscape. In 1904 the Royal Academy notes described the subject as: "In wind-blown draperies of slate-colour and blue, a girl passes through a spring landscape accented by pink blossom and daffodils". Since then, the picture's whereabouts have been unknown and it was referred to as "lost" in Anthony Hobson's 1989 biography of Waterhouse.

The painting was sold for £848,500 ($1,293,962) - the record price for a Waterhouse at the time. The previous record was for Ophelia - sold for £419,500. The current record for a Waterhouse is for The Awakening of Adonis (1899), auctioned in November 1998 for £1,418,000 / $2,340,000 (est. $800,000 - $1,200,000).
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