MODERN ART 🎨

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YOUNG GIRL CARRYING THE HEAD OF ORPHEUS

GUSTAVE MOREAU

This painting is typical of Moreau`s middle period: a Luxuriously detailed, exotic mirage of a picture that hints at mysterious pagan practices and ritualized eroticism.

The story of Orpheus is a familiar one. The Nymph Eurydice, wife of Orpheus (a Poet and Musician of Thrace and son of Apollo), is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies.

Orpheus is Heartbroken and sets out to retrieve her from the underworld. He charms Persephone with his music and she agrees to release Eurydice as long as Orpheus resists the temptation to look at her until she is back on Earth, a condition that Orpheus fails to keep, with disastrous results.

Eurydice is returned to the underworld.

Enraged by his singleminded love of Eurydice, Orpheus is torn to pieces by a group of Maenads. They throw his head and lyre into the River Hebrus. All this has already taken place before the disputed episode depicted by Moreau.

According to this version, Orpheus`head and lyre were carried to the island of Lesbos.

The Painting Shows a Young girl reverently recovering Orpheus severed head and lyre.

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