POUSSIN, Nicolas
(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)

Landscape with Orpheus and Euridice

Oil on canvas, 124 x 200 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Less severe than the Landscape with Pyramus and Thisbe is the Landscape with Orpheus and Euridice in the Louvre. Here the artist was dealing with a much less solemn subject, but even so the forms are rather hard. The whole has the feeling of having been put together in pieces like a jig-saw puzzle, rather than composed as a single entity as was the Diogenes, surely one of the most perfectly ordered but naturalistic landscapes ever painted.

Orpheus is a legendary Thracian poet, famous for his skill with the lyre. He married Eurydice, a wood nymph, and at her death descended into the underworld in an unsuccessful attempt to bring her back to earth.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 7 minutes):
Cristoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo, Act I, Orpheus' aria in G Major