This painting is a classic example of Waterhouse’s mastery of the figure. It depicts the head of Orpheus floating toward two nymphs, and the lyre and head of Orpheus are seen as they gather near the water at dusk. The head of Orpheus is also in the background, next to a small waterlily. This work was originally exhibited at the Royal Academy and later sold to Alexander Henderson.
The story of Orpheus and his harp became an important part of Western culture. Victorian artists preferred to portray him while alive and avoid showing him being killed. However, French artist Gustave Moreau famously depicted Orpheus as a dead victim, and Waterhouse may have been inspired by his work. This painting also exemplifies the Symbolist philosophy of the time, transcending narrative subjects to express the spirit of music. Although the painting is largely devoted to Orpheus and his harp, it also focuses on the melancholy music of his singing.
This painting was popular during the fin de siècle in Europe, with many artists depicting the head of Orpheus while he is still alive. Symbolist painters like Gustave Moreau and Jean Delville had their own interpretations of Orpheus. This painting is Waterhouse’s most Symbolist work. In addition to being a masterpiece of art, it symbolizes the timeless spirit of music.
Waterhouse’s paintings of Orpheus centered on the harp and head of Orpheus. The Symbolist style grew in popularity during the nineteenth century as more artists embraced the myth and celebrated the head of Orpheus as a martyr. And the theme of music and the demise of Orpheus became a focus of Symbolist art.
The Head of Orpheus was a popular subject in the fin de siecle in Europe. The artist chose a lyre to portray the head of Orpheus, which he had played while he was still alive. After performing the harp, he finds that his lover was already dead, and the two female deities discover him by floating in the river Herbrus.
Symbolist art was a way to incorporate Orpheus into their works. The two female deities, Eurydice and Orpheus, are floating in the river Herbrus. As their hearts grow, they become reunited. In this case, the lyre is the instrument of love and is a symbol of beauty and creativity.
While the head of Orpheus is a common subject in classical mythology, the subject has a more modern meaning in modern art. It is widely believed that the harp is a powerful instrument in the lyre, and the head of Orpheus has the ability to produce sounds that are melodious and beautiful. The lyre is a symbol of love and is associated with the soul.
The Head of Orpheus is a classic subject for Victorian art. Often, artists would depict the head of Orpheus as alive and inconsolable, while avoiding the subject of his death. Symbolist artists became more enthusiastic about the subject, and many admired the melancholy music of the maenads.
Victorian artists preferred depictions of Orpheus while avoiding his demise. Some of Waterhouse’s paintings of the head of Orpheus were inspired by paintings by Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon. While the painting has a narrative theme, it transcends its subject by focusing on the head of Orpheus and his harp.
The head of Orpheus, as well as the heads of the nymphs, was the inspiration for the poem, “The Head of Orpheus by John William Waterhouse”. The title refers to an ancient mythological story that shows how the head of an orpheus is buried and reincarnated in a woman’s body. The nymphs are surrounded by a river.