The second part of the trilogy focuses on Memnon, King of the Ethiopians and Achilles, two great warriors on opposing sides of the Trojan wars. The pair were destined to fight in single combat, after Memnon had killed Antilochus, son of Nestor, King of Pylos. Prior to the battle their mothers, Thetis and Eos, presented themselves before Jupiter and each begged for the life of their son. The king of the gods weighed both heroes' souls against one another and finding that Memnon’s was lighter, ordained that Achilles was to emerge victorious. In the present sheet, while a solider uses his spear to stop the crowd from interfering, Achilles is seen on the right, while Memnon stands with his arm raised in defiance on the left.
In 1803 Fuseli exhibited a now lost oil painting connected with this theme at the Royal Academy and drawings survive in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.1
1. The first: E. Joll, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford 2002, p. 109; The second: The Pierpont Morgan Library - museum number: 1974.44
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