Collection Online
Hero and Leander
oil on canvas
155.3 × 209.5 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1955
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Subjects (general)
Emotions and Mental States Human Figures Literary and Text
Subjects (specific)
deaths full-length figures gaze (psychoanalytical concept) grief hands (animal components) lovers men (male humans) women (female humans)

Collection of P. B. Nicholls Esq. (1920–2010), Burleigh, Stroud, Gloucestershire, before 1953; with J. A. Tooth (dealer), London, by 1953[1]; from where purchased by Colnaghi (dealer), London, 19 December 1953; with Colnaghi, London, until 1955; from where purchased, on the advice of A.J.L. McDonnell, for the Felton Bequest, 1955.

[1] Jack Artemus Tooth, dealer, in partnership with brother Vivian Artemus Tooth during 1940s and early 1950s. See London Gazette issues 18 April 1944 and 22 July 1947.

The story of Hero and Leander is found in a poem by the Greek poet Musaeus (4th – 5th century AD). Leander, a youth of Abydos, on the Asian side of the Hellespont, would swim the strait nightly to meet his lover, Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, at Sestos on the opposite shore. One stormy night, Leander drowned, and the distraught Hero committed suicide.