Tate Kids



Circe mask Inspiration




© Estate of the Artist Reg Butler,'Circe Head'made in 1952-3


In Greek mythology the evil goddess Circe had the power to turn men into animals. When the hero Odysseus arrived on Circe’s island she drugged his men and turned them into pigs. With the help of the God Hermes, Odysseus defeated Circe and made her release his men from her spell.

In this bronze sculpture Circe herself is transformed into a beast-like and brutalised head. The wires protruding from the side of her head and the nails used to suggest hair make it look like she is being tortured. Perhaps she is now suffering the fate she inflicted on her victims.