The celebrated landscape painter Corot was among the leading members of the so-called Barbizon school, which was committed to working directly from nature. But he was active at the same time as a painter of dreamlike fantasy landscapes. He undertook several works in response to a production of Gluck’s celebrated opera Orfeo, based on the classical myth of Orpheus—the musician who enchants all his listeners, even animals. The largest of Corot’s Orpheus paintings, exhibited at the Salon of 1861, is today in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The smaller Kimbell painting depicts the beginning of the first act of the opera. Orpheus’s beautiful bride, Eurydice, has just died from the bite of a serpent. In mourning, he plays his lyre to three female companions. He is dressed in ancient fashion, whereas the companions appear more contemporary, dressed in Italian folk costumes.