Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This charming man

John Macallan Swan, Orpheus (1896)

Poet, musician, lover, thief. With his lyre and his rich voice, Orpheus enchanted the river, flowers and animals as easily as he charmed men and women alike.

George Frederic Watts, Orpheus and Eurydice (1869-72)

His lovely wife, Eurydice, suffers a cruel death after being bitten by a poisonous snake. Heartbroken, Orpheus travels to the underworld to plead for her return. The dark rulers of the underworld are moved by his music and agree that he may take Eurydice back, provided he does not look at her until they return to the land of the living. In one moment of forgetfulness, he looks back at her, she dies a second time, vanishing forever.

Gregorio Lazzarini, Orpheus and the Bacchantes (1710)

Inconsolable and faithful to his lost love, Orpheus spurns the advances of the Thracian women. In a fit of intoxicated rage and jealousy, the women tear his body apart and cast his head into the river.

John William Waterhouse, Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus (1900)

The head of Orpheus floats to the Island of Lesbos, where it is retrieved by the Muses and buried in a sanctuary.

No comments: