Guy Head illustrates the story of Echo from Greek mythology. Echo was a nymph who entertained the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, with long stories so that he could pursue other nymphs. Hera punished Echo by making her body disappear and condemning her voice only to repeat words spoken by others. Here Head shows us the full-figured Echo floating weightlessly against a meticulously painted ideal landscape. She is leaving this beautiful world, soon to become only a voice.
Artist Guy Head, English, 1753-1800
  • Echo Flying from Narcissus
Date between 1795 and 1798
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 83 1/2 × 64 1/4 inches (212.1 × 163.2 cm)
Framed: 96 7/8 × 77 1/2 × 5 1/4 inches (246.1 × 196.9 × 13.3 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Acquisitions Fund
Accession Number 78.70
Department European Painting
On View British S3BB, Level 3 (see map)
1978, (Julian Hartnoll, London, England);
1978-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon 1907-1950. vol. 16, pp. 187-88.

Pressly, Nancy L. "Guy Head and his Echo Flying from Narcissus: A British Artist in Rome in the 1790s." Bulletin of the DIA 60, nos. 3/4 (1982): pp. 68-79, and (cover ill.).

Gunn, A. "Guy Head's 'Venus and Juno.'" Burlington Magazine (August 1991): pp. 510-513 (fig. 32).

Wissman, F.W. European Vistas: Cultural Landscapes. Detroit, 2000, p. 29 (ill.).

Virgilio, C. Art in Italia 1780/1930. Rome, 2001, p. 28.

Vedovato, L. Villa Farsetti, nella storia II. Venice, 2004, p. 175, 180, (ill.) p. 176 (fig. 187).