Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), Oannes et le Sphinx, 1910, oil on wood.
Background: The Apkallu, or Abgal, are seven sages in Sumerian mythology, demigods created by the god Enki (or Ea) from the ocean to establish culture and give civilization (particularly the Me (moral code) and arts and crafts) to mankind by teaching them. They are typically depicted as having the lower torso of a fish, or dressed as fish. The first of the seven is Adapa, also known as Uan or Oannes, taught mankind the practice of correct rites of religious observance. He is said to have revealed all knowledge and wisdom to man after the Creation. Oannes is primarily known for a story in which he broke the wings of Ninlil, the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before the sky-god Anu. At Enki’s suggestion, Oannes apologized humbly, and Anu offered him the food of immortality, but he refused, having been warned against eating in heaven by Enki, who had anticipated Oannes being offered the food of death instead. (I can’t find anything on the Oannes-Sphinx connection.)