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Watts’ oil painting Orpheus and Eurydice depicts the well known classic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus, son of Apollo by muse Calliope, married Eurydice, the princess of Thrace. A neighbouring prince Aristaeus, enraged at her beauty, tries to ravish her. Eurydice, fleeing from him, steps on a snake and dies of its bite. Orpheus, unable to bear the separation, goes to the other world and makes use of his musical abilities in praise of the presiding deities, Pluto and Proser­pine, the divine couple, touched by compassion, returns his wife to life on condition that only upon reaching Eart, should he look back at her. Half way through, his curiosity prevailing, Orpheus looks back and has the mortification to see his wife dropping down dead. The painting shows the last stage in the life of Eurydice. A victim to the uncontrollable curiosity of her husband she dies stricken with divine wrath. The form of Eurydice - ­lips parted, eyes closed, poised on tiptoes-suggest the death that has over taken her. Her complexion is morbid.

Details

  • Title: Orpheus and Eurydice
  • Creator: G.F Watts
  • Date: 1880/1890
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Oil on canvas, 178.3 L x 101.6 W
  • Type: Painting
  • Accession Number: LXV-85

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