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Plate XL.


p. 82

An Hermaphrodite.

Height, 49½ inches. Width 32 10/25 inches.


THIS figure represents an hermaphrodite full of grace, youth, and beauty. We have given some particulars respecting these fabulous beings in the Introduction to this work; and we have also explained why the leaf of the water-lily was consecrated to them.

The hermaphrodite here represented gracefully raises the mantle in which he is enveloped, and reveals at one and the same time the organ of virility and a woman's breast.

An attentive examination of this painting will show that such a being could not exist. The beauty which glows in every one of his limbs; the softness revealed by the rounded forms; everything, in this figure, betrays a sensible and passive being, created for resistance and defeat; there is nothing there, on the other hand, to indicate the vigour and boldness of character which is the birthright of the sex made to attack and to conquer.

This fresco was among the excavations of Pompeii.

Next: Plate XLI: An Hermaphrodite and Faun