About this artwork

Achilles refuses the comfort of his Greek comrades as he grieves over the dead body of his close friend, Patroclus, who was killed by the Trojans. The enormous size of Hamilton's painting conveys a sense of his ambition to depict episodes from Homer's Iliad in an overpowering, epic mode. His heroic compositions were designed to convey the dramatic and emotional range of the epic poem, based on Alexander Pope's English translation. Hamilton painted six canvases, each commissioned by a different patron. This one, the finest in the series, was made for Sir James Grant between 1760 and 1763, and secured an international audience through Domenico Cunego's reproductive engravings.

Updated March 2022

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Gavin Hamilton

Gavin Hamilton