Burne-Jones probably used William Morris's Earthly Paradise as the source of this subject. Acrisius, King of Argos, having been warned by the oracle that he would be killed by his daughter's son, imprisoned her in a tower of brass. However, Danäe bore a son to Jove, who fulfilled the prophecy. Here, Danäe watches the construction of the tower with apprehension. This is one of two small versions of the subject painted by Burne-Jones for one of his strongest supporters, the Glasgow merchant, William Graham, in 1872; the second version, of 1876, is in the Fogg Art Museum. Burne-Jones's definitive treatment of the theme (Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery), was exhibited in 1888.
oil on panel
image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford