Head for Hypnos by Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921). 1897. Bronze, 21 x 35.5 x 22 cm.

According to Peintres de L'Ame (1984), "Fernand Khnopff's 'Head of Hypnos' was undoubtedly inspired by the Head of Hypnos in the British Museum (attributed to Scopas, 350 BC) which Khnopff presumably saw on his first visit to Britain in 1891. The bronze must have had a personal significance for Khnopff, for the artist did not exhibit or sell it during his lifetime but kept it himself, at home. This makes the date difficult to ascertain. The 'Head of Hypnos' first appeared in a showcase, in a prominent position, in the new house that Khnopff had built in 1900. However, it could have been designed long before this, because Khnopff's fascination with the idea of a god who symbolized sleep became apparent in 1891, the year that he had visited England, when the head of Hypnos appeared in his painting I Lock the Door upon Myself [as well as A Blue Wing GPL].

Hypnos subsequently appeared in two more pictures of the 1890's; 'Une Aile Bleue' and 'Blanc Noir et Or'" (19).


Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921). Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004.

Peintres de L'Ame. London: Whitford and Hughes, 1984. No. 19.

Victorian Web Visual Arts Fernand Khnopff Sculpture by Khnopff

Last modified 14 November 2005