Gustave Moreau's Oedipus and the Sphinx
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Oedipus and the Sphinx
Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) -- French Painter
Oedipus and the Sphinx
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Oil on canvas
(click on image to Step Closer) 
The sphinx was a hybrid monster, part human, part lion, sometimes shown with eagle wings and a serpent's tail. The story of Oedipus and the Sphinx is about a sphinx who blocked a mountain path to the city of Thebes and posed riddles to travelers. If they could answer, they could pass. If they couldn't, they were torn to bits. Oedipus takes on the challenge. (Jeffery Howe website 

In Moreau's adaptation of the story we see the bits and pieces of the dead laying around from the other failed challengers. Oedipus and the Sphinx are locked eye to eye as she is almost pleading, awaiting for his answer. The sexual overtones here are intense and we're left wondering if she really wants him to fail or succeed; and exactly who might be devouring whom. 

Other Moreau Paintings:

Gustave Moreau 



By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2002 all rights reversed
Created 3/25/2002