Telemachus and the Nymphs of Calypso

Angelica Kauffmann Swiss

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627

Kauffmann was born in Switzerland but made her reputation in Italy and England, where she was a founding member of the Royal Academy. These companion paintings were executed in Rome for Monsignor Onorato Caetani, who in the same year had his portrait painted by Kauffmann. Later portraits of him by Anton Raphael Mengs and Pompeo Batoni attest to the tight‑knit, international character of eighteenth‑century Roman intellectual circles. Kauffmann was among Europe’s most sought-after history painters. These compositions were based on François Fénelon’s The Adventures of Telemachus (1699), in which the son of the Greek hero Odysseus washes up on the shores of an island inhabited by Calypso and her nymphs.

Telemachus and the Nymphs of Calypso, Angelica Kauffmann (Swiss, Chur 1741–1807 Rome), Oil on canvas

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