Collection Online
205.5 × 79.4 × 93.4 cm
Place/s of Execution
Paris, France
cast in base in rear l.r.: Bertram Mackennal / 1893
cast in base in rear l.l.: E. GRUET JNE FONDEUR. PARIS. (JNE underlined)
cast in base l.c.: KIP KH
Accession Number
Australian Sculpture
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1910
Gallery location
16th & 17th Century Gallery - Painting and Sculpture
Mezzanine linked to Level 1, NGV International

Taken from Homer’s Odyssey, Circe was a sorceress who turned her victims into beasts. This life-size femme fatale was Mackennal’s largest work to date, and was clearly meant to make a daring proclamation. First exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1893, Circe was awarded a Mention honourable. The following year it was shown in London as a plaster, and created a sensation when exhibition organisers draped its base to hide the ambiguously entwined figures.