Salamacis and Hermaphroditus
Herman van Swanevelt, Dutch, c. 1600 - 1655
In classical mythology, the water nymph Salamacis fell in love with the beautiful god Hermaphroditus, who did not reciprocate her feelings. One day, while watching him bathe in a forest pool, she was unable to restrain her passion and dove into the water with him. As Salamacis clung to Hermaphroditus, her wish to never be separated from him was granted by the gods, and their two bodies became one, sharing the attributes of both sexes. In this etching, Swanevelt depicts the moment when Salamacis, hidden in a grove of trees, spies upon Hermaphroditus in the pool.