Ernest-Eugène Hiolle (1834-1886)
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
You kids all know the story of Narcissus, right?
He was a youth from the city of Thespiae, which was noted for its after-hours clubs and its abundance of world-class hair stylists.
Narcissus was the son of the River God Cephissus and a nymph named Liriope. That couldn’t have been easy growing up.
Well, a young man named Ameinias fell in love with Narcissus, who had already spurned his other male suitors. No man, no matter the time put in at the gym, could hold his attention. Narcissus rejected Ameinias’ private messages, but gave him a sword as a consolation prize. Ameinias committed suicide at Narcissus’s doorstep. He had prayed to the Gods to give Narcissus a lesson for all the pain he brought to a long line of guys that had fallen for his profile on various hook-up apps.
Not long after, Narcissus was walking by a lovely pool of water and decided to help himself to a drink. He saw his reflection, but didn’t realize it was his own image because Narcissus was beautiful, but a little dim. The Gods didn’t spread their gifts out equally.
Anyway, Narcissus feel deeply in love with his own reflection and became entranced by it. But, he realized that his love could not be reciprocated, and unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. You know the feeling.
In 1898, Havelock Ellis, an English sexologist, used the term “Narcissus-Like” to describe excessive masturbation, whereby the person becomes his own sex object, or as I call it “Saturday night”.
Тhe tale of Narcissus has inspired artists for more than three thousand years. The gay Roman poet Ovid featured a version in his graphic novel Metamorphoses (8 AD). Painters as diverse as Caravaggio, Nicolas Poussin, J. M. W. Turner, and Salvador Dalí have painted him. Ernest-Eugène Hiolle immortalized him in marble.