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Returning from Troy, Ulysses's ship was destroyed by the god Zeus, and all the crew apart from Ulysses himself were drowned. He managed to reach the island of Ogygia, inhabited by the nymph Calypso. She fell in love with him but he was unable to return her feelings and his thoughts turned constantly to home. This painting can be related to a series of compositions by Cazin which combine classical or religious subject matter with contemporary settings. The coastal scene portrayed here is almost certainly that at Equihen, near Boulogne, a setting which the artist used often for his subject pictures.
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