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Orpheus (Orphée)

European Art

On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor

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.

  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1908, cast 1980
    DIMENSIONS 57 1/2 x 30 x 49 1/4 in. (146.1 x 76.2 x 125.1 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Back, proper right: "E. GODARD FOND." Base, proper right: "© by Musée Rodin 1980"
    SIGNATURE Base, proper left: "A. Rodin"
    INSCRIPTIONS Base, proper left: "No 7"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Great Hall, 1st Floor
    EDITION 7/12
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917). Orpheus (Orphée), 1908, cast 1980. Bronze, 57 1/2 x 30 x 49 1/4 in. (146.1 x 76.2 x 125.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, 84.75.3. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 84.75.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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