POUSSIN, Nicolas
(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)

Echo and Narcissus

Oil on canvas, 74 x 100 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Narcissus and Echo: a story of a handsome youth and the nymph who loved him but whose love was not returned. In Ovid's sad rendering of the myth (Met. 3:339-510) Echo was condemned by the goddess Juno to repeat only the last words that were spoken to her; Narcissus, as a punishment for spurning Echo, was made to fall in love with his own reflection, and pined away gazing at himself in a pool. At his death he was changed into flower that bears his name, and Echo in sorrow wasted away until nothing but her voiced remained.

In this representation Narcissus lies dead beside the water while Echo in the background grieves over him.