Romare Bearden (United States)

Medium: watercolor on paper
Date: c. 1977

Circe is one of twenty collages from Romare Bearden’s 1977 series based on episodes from Homer’s epic tale “The Odyssey”. In the wake of 1960s urban unrest and disintegration, Bearden viewed the wanderings and misadventures of Odysseus (Latinized as Ulysses) as parallelling aspects of modern black experience: the quest for a home amid brutality and destructive lures of sex and drugs. Adding his own interpretation to the Greek epic, Bearden portrayed the Odyssey’s dramatic characters as African-Americans.

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