Overview

Greek mythological Orpheus sculpture in Bronze , resting on his lyre.

  • The myth of Orpheus tells of his life as a Thracian singer who was much celebrated in ancient Greece.

    In the story, Orpheus' wife Eurydice dies, after being bitten by a snake. Orpheus is so saddened by her loss that he decides to journey into the underworld in the hope of finding her again.

    His music and singing proves so beautiful, that he charms Cerberus, the three headed dog, allowing him to enter the underworld. The ruler of the underworld, Hades, allows Eurydice to be returned to Orpheus and the land of the living on the condition that he does not look upon his love on the return journey. Orpheus is simply unable to resist and turns to gaze upon Eurydice, who immediately turns into a ghost and returns to the dark kingdom.

    Orpheus is heartbroken and devastated. He wanders alone from then on, rejecting the attention of all other women. This incenses the wild Maenads, female worshippers of Dionysus, who after being spurned, proceed to tear Orpheus to pieces and throw them into the river. His head floats downstream, along with his lyre. He was still calling for Eurydice.

    Orpheus was said to have been the son of Calliope, the muse of poetry and perhaps Apollo, the sun god.

  • Inspiration for the sculpture came from a J. W. Waterhouse painting ‘Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus’.

    The allegory of this sculpture has different meanings, but conveys self-sacrifice, devotion to loved ones and looking in hope for love. Tragedy and grief are encompassed. Although tragic, even in death a beauty is preserved. In simplest terms, the sculpture represents love, hope, loss and integrity.

    "Looking at classical sculpture and busts of Apollo and other Greek and Roman artworks for reference, I made one sketch and started a clay maquette based around this which developed into the final model. As the clay shrank and cracked, I made a mould and a plaster positive cast, which I carved and refined before getting the final piece made through a metal artisan.

    The patination suggests the head was in the water and I imagine it being displayed idealistically on a surface of a pond, suspended horizontally as if floating, like in the myth."  

    Matt Hurley

  • Dimensions (H,W,D) - inches : 25,15,8
  • Materials : Bronze
  • Stock Reference Number : SC1
  • Copyright : Hurley Marble. All Rights Reserved.