Melusine, 1841-1845
Ludwig Michael von Schwanthaler (1802–1848)
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Gallery II 

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In European folklore, Melusine was a water nymph. She fell in love with Prince Raymond and took on a human form. Before agreeing to marriage, Melusine made it a condition that she could bathe unseen once a week.

Curiosity, however, got the better of Raymond, and he spied on Melusine as she took a bath. He saw her in her true form: a beautiful woman from the waist up, but a writhing serpent below.

Knowing that he betrayed her, Melusine returned to her watery home. This sculpture captures Melusine as she is about to transform herself and enter the bath.