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Muse Finding the Head of Orpheus

1899

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

According to Greek myth, the women of Thrace tore Orpheus, a mythical poet, to pieces after he rejected their advances. His head floated across the Mediterranean Sea to the island of Lesbos, which then became the foremost center for lyre music in antiquity. Berge, a native of Baltimore, attended the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute. He later studied in Paris under Raoul Verlet and Auguste Rodin. After his return to Baltimore, he became one of the city's foremost sculptors. The model for this sculpture was dated 1899. It was exhibited at the Salon d'automne in Paris in 1900 where it received the Clark prize, and was shown again at the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915. The sculptor, who regarded this piece as one of his most important works, had intended to remove the marble struts supporting the figure's arms after the piece had been purchased.

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