Orpheus Among the Animals


Oil on oakwood
Inv. No. 977

51.9 × 66.5 cm

zur  Biographie

A native of Kortrijk in West Flanders, Savery had been in the employ of Emperor Rudolf II – who recruited a great many artists for his splendid court in Prague – since 1604. It was in this stimulating atmosphere that Savery executed the Frankfurt work, his first depiction of Orpheus enchanting the wild animals with his music. The mythological theme merely provided him with a pretext, however, for staging a forest landscape with a richly populated and zoologically precise menagerie – which explains why the animals have no apparent relationship to the small figure of the musician in the middle ground. This aspect would be treated differently in Savery’s later renditions of the motif.

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