• Orpheus

    Artist:
    Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822
    Dimensions:
    height: 140 cm

Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822

Orpheus

Italy, 1777

Canova produced his first commissioned works - a pair of statues showing Orpheus and Eurydice - at the age of just 16 or 17, for his patron, Senator Falier. Placed side by side, they were intended as a group but could also be displayed separately. The Hermitage possesses an author's copy of the most successful of the two works, Orpheus. The subject comes from the Antique legend of Eurydice, wife of the singer Orpheus, who died from a snake bite. Orpheus was so cast down that he resolved to bring her back from the Underworld and he set off to Hades to charm the gods with his music. He was so successful that he was permitted to take Eurydice back with him to earth, on the one condition that he not look at her on the way. But Orpheus could not resist looking back to see if she was following him and thus lost her forever. Canova chose to show the dramatic moment at which, feeling that Eurydice's soul is slipping away, Orpheus clasps his head in despair, not noticing that he has dropped his lyre and is trampling it beneath his feet. The choice of the most dramatic moment in the story, the tension and dynamism, the complex twist of the figure and the grimace on the face of Orpheus are evidence that the young sculptor was still influenced by the traditions of the late Baroque style.

Title:

Orpheus

Place:

Date:

Material:

Dimensions:

height: 140 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1866;

Inventory Number:

Н.ск-315

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