Italian Panel of Orpheus and Eurydice

  • The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice comes to life in this rare Italian gouache and oil
  • It depicts the moment when Orpheus plays for Hades and Persephone in exchange for his wife's life
  • Likely intended for a music room in an Italian villa, it is an exceptional rarity
  • From the Oprah Winfrey Collection
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-9010

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Greek mythology comes to life in this extraordinary gouache and oil on canvas. The exceptionally rare work likely depicts the tragic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus, a legendary great hero renowned for his musical skills, was the son of the Thracian king Oeagrus and the Muse Calliope, the patron of epic poetry. According to legend, Orpheus was gifted his first lyre by the god Apollo, who was impressed by his superhuman musical talents.

The tale for which Orpheus is best remembered, however, is the one likely depicted in this panel, wherein he rescued his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld. On the day of her wedding, Eurydice was set upon by a satyr, and in her efforts to escape, she was bitten by a snake. Overcome by grief, Orpheus traveled to the underworld with his lyre in order to appeal to Hades and Persephone to return his wife. Hearts softened by his song, they agreed to allow Eurydice to return to earth, on the condition that he not turn to look at her until they escaped the underworld. Tragically, Orpheus was unable to comply with this condition - he turned back to catch a glimpse of her, and his wife vanished forever.

One of the most popular of the Greek myths, Orpheus' story is brilliantly recreated in this gouache and oil on canvas, which captured the musician as he plays for the god and goddess of the underworld. Likely once displayed in the music room of an Italian villa, it is an exceptional example of its genre.

Circa 1800

Canvas: 31 1/2" high x 48" wide
Frame: 52 1/4" wide x 36" high
Italian Panel of Orpheus and Eurydice
Period: 1700-1815
Origin: Italy
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.0 Inches
Width: 52.25 Inches
Height: 36.0 Inches
Canvas Width: 48 Inches
Canvas Height: 31.5 Inches

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