HONDECOETER, Gillis Claesz. d'
(b. ca. 1575, Antwerpen, d. 1638, Amsterdam)

Orpheus Charming the Animals

1631
Oil on canvas, 70 x 106 cm
Private collection

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.

Such was his musical skill that Orpheus charmed not only the wild beasts but also the trees and rocks which would come after him at the sound of his lyre. He sits under a tree plucking the lyre (in the background, barely seen in the reproduction), animals of many kinds, wild and domestic are gathered peacefully round him.

You can view other depictions of Orpheus taming the animals.




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