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Flaxman journeyed to Rome in 1787 to study classical art. While there, he became one of the earliest enthusiasts for the simple purity of ancient Greek vase painting. Flaxman was commissioned to make 73 line drawings in that style to illustrate Homer's great epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey. This drawing for The Odyssey describes the episode in which the wily adventurer Odysseus (Ulysses) refuses the potion-laced wine by which the sorceress Circe had transformed his crew into swine.