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Orpheus (Orphée)

This sculpture, with its intense torsion and strain, its mixture of exaltation and despair, reflects the complexity of the theme and Rodin's willingness to have his works express the internal conflict and ambiguity of actual experience, even when dealing with a mythological theme.

According to the Greek myth, when Orpheus's wife, Eurydice, died, he descended into the underworld to try to regain her. This he accomplished through the persuasive power of his music; but returning with her to the upper world, he was unable to restrain his passion and glanced back at her too soon, ignoring one of the conditions set by the gods, and lost Eurydice again.

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