Orpheus, suddenly looking back at Cheng Yongjue

  Not long ago, I went to visit Harewood House near Leeds, England, and was attracted by a huge Orpheus sculpture. He stood upright with his arms outstretched, with a sleeping leopard lying on his arm. This is the work of British female sculptor Astrid Zidoar, which has been standing there since 1984. The neoclassical style embodied in this sculpture is popular in Britain as a timeless aesthetic, and Orpheus, a genius of music and poetry, is still remembered by the world.
Birds and beasts are his fans

  Orpheus’s mother is Calliopa, the muse in charge of the epic, and his father may be Apollo, the god of the sun, or O’Agros, the god of the river. When he picked up the lyre and sang while playing, the branches of the tree danced, the river surged, and the beasts would gather around him docilely. He once accompanied Jason in search of the Golden Fleece, captured the dragon guarding the Golden Fleece with the sound of the piano, and subdued the Siren Siren. Later, in order to save his dead wife, he went to the underworld by himself, and moved Pluto with the sound of the piano.
  Many painters like to draw Orpheus and animals together. In the 17th century, the Dutch Antwerp painter Theodor Van Tulden collaborated with the Flemish painter Frans Snyders to create the oil painting “Orpheus and Animals” (now in the Prado Museum, Spain) . In the painting, Orpheus has a burly physique with blond hair and looks like a Dutch man at the time, sitting under a tree playing a lyre. Animals such as elephants, lions, foxes, wild boars, leopards, deer and eagles gathered around him, seeming to have been fascinated by the sound of the piano. The contemporary Dutch painter Albert Koop painted Orpheus into landscape paintings he was good at. In “Orpheus and Animals in Landscape Painting”, Orpheus’s melodious piano not only attracted In addition to wild animals, it also attracts pets and poultry.

Above: Orpheus sculpture at Harewood Manor. Bottom: “Orpheus fascinates animals” by Flemish painter Jacob Hofnagel.

  Interestingly, Antwerp painter Nicolas de Bruin painted Orpheus’ lyre as a cello in his painting “Orpheus fascinates animals”. Another painting of the same name in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York made Orpheus play the violin. This painting is fresh and beautiful, and it is the work of the Flemish painter Jacob Hofnagel in 1613. Renaissance painter Peter Bruegel the Elder also painted “Orpheus and the Animals”, and he asked Orpheus to play the harp. You know, the cello, violin and harp were not invented in ancient Greece.
  By the 20th century, the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was inspired by these paintings and created a collection of poems “Animal Allegory: Or Orpheus’s Followers.” He is the defender of Cubism and the father of Surrealism. This collection of poems published in 1911 presents a scene of harmonious coexistence of life with the help of elegant and playful descriptions of animals, insects and Orpheus.
  Among the many paintings, the most classic image of Orpheus comes from the German painter Franz Skader’s “Orpheus” painted in 1891 (now in the Villa Stucker Museum, Munich, Germany). In the painting, Orpheus turned his back and was playing the lyre drunkenly. He was naked, with only a silver ribbon, which formed a sharp contrast with the red lyre. There are not many animals surrounding him, but they are full of symbolic meaning. For example, the crocodile symbolizes wisdom, the lion symbolizes courage and strength, and the flamingo symbolizes the sun god of ancient Egypt.

Left: The painting “Orpheus” by German painter Franz Skader. Right: The painting “Orpheus and Eurydice” by Danish painter Karl Gus.
Waiting for the “disappearing lover”

  Orpheus is a combination of music and poetry talents, which makes the beasts bow their heads and the mountains and forests are shocked, and his most familiar story is the love tragedy between him and Eurydice. Eurydice was bitten to death by a poisonous snake, and Orpheus was so sad that he went down to the underworld to rescue her. The Plutos were moved by his infatuation and music, and agreed to his request, but there was one condition: Orpheus could not look back at Eurydice before they left the underworld. As a result, Orpheus broke this oath, and therefore lost his lover forever. After his death, he incarnates in Lyra (the constellation where Vega is located), waiting for the disappearing lover forever. This love story extols eternal love and also tells the truth that “love is endurance”.
  Ovid described this farewell scene in The Metamorphosis. He wrote: “Now they are not far from the ground. He was full of joy, for fear that she would panic, he held her tightly, and turned his head eagerly. As a result, she immediately sank again. She was helpless. She! Both stretched out their arms, struggling to catch each other, but Orpheus was only catching the air.” At this moment, many painters were impressed, and they made them paint the scene with their pens.
  In the painting “Orpheus and Eurydice” by the Danish painter Karl Gus, Eurydice seems to be being sucked away by a force. She reluctantly looks at Orpheus, and Orpheus Fu Si’s eyes were full of regret. “Orpheus and Eurydice” by the British painter George Federico Watts is a masterpiece of “aesthetic classicism.” Collapsed backwards. Dutch painter Iri Schaefer’s “Orpheus mourns the death of Eurydice” expresses the protagonist’s grief and regret with one hand on his forehead. The vivid image of “Orpheus and Eurydice” painted by Bologna painter Giovanni Antonio Brini, Orpheus in the painting wants to catch the lover who is leaving him, but it is too late Night.
  The most ingenious presentation of this love tragedy comes from the British painter Frederick Leiden’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” (now in the Leiden House Museum, London). To understand this painting, we must first understand Ovid’s feelings when Eurydice and her lover say farewell as described in The Metamorphosis. Ovid wrote: “Now that she died for the second time, she did not complain about her husband at all. She was deeply loved by her husband, why should she complain?” Eurydice’s love for her husband was so strong that she was at the end of her life. I only feel the love and care for him all the time. Under Leiden’s brush, Eurydice was resurrected again, trying to embrace Orpheus, but Orpheus closed her eyes and held her back. It’s not that he doesn’t want to see his lover, but that he is too remorseful, and perhaps hopes to win Pluto’s forgiveness again with this kind of performance. At the same time, Eurydice probably knew that her destiny could not be changed, and just wanted to embrace her lover for the last time.

“Orpheus and Eurydice” by Bologna painter Giovanni Antonio Brini.

“Orpheus and Eurydice” by the British painter Sir Frederick Leighton.

  Leiden painted this picture in an unconventional way. He probably also feared that people would not understand his original intention, so he asked his friend and British poet Robert Browning to compose a poem “Ulidice to Orpheus” for this painting. The poem wrote: “Hold me in my arms… All misfortunes, and all possible horrors and contempt, will be forgotten, I have no past, and no future: look at me!” The poet also hopes to use Eurydice Qian’s inner monologue helps viewers understand her emotions at the time. Unfortunately, Browning’s poems are not enough to make the painting stand out. Among the eight works exhibited in the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1864, it was rated as the least popular. The spectators at the time did not seem to understand that this unconventional and emotionally complex painting touched the core of true love.
Patron saint of poetry

  Orpheus has inspired many playwrights, poets and musicians. Shakespeare described in the third act of “Henry VIII” that Queen Catherine asked the maids to play and sing a song for her. The name of the song was “Orpheus”. At that time, the snow-covered mountain tops tilted their heads; the flowers and grasses thrived when he heard the music he played, as if sunlight and rain made them never wither. Everything under the world heard the tune he played, just Even the surging waves in the ocean lowered your head…” This song shows the musical charm of Orpheus. He can use singing to change nature and create eternal spring, and he can calm the waves of the sea with the sound of piano, and heal troubled hearts with music.
  Rene Maria Rilke was a great German poet of the 20th century and a lover of Orpheus. His collection of poems “Sonnets to Orpheus” published in 1923 was a testament to this man. Tribute to God. After Rilke learned of the death of his daughter’s friend Vera, he decided to write a set of poems to commemorate her. This set of poems is based on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Rilke sometimes calls Vera by his name in the poem, and sometimes calls her the “dancer” or “the Eurydice of the myth.” He also called Orpheus “the god holding the lyre.” He completed the creation in 3 weeks, saying that the writing process is like an “endless storm” and “spiritual hurricane.”
  The British romantic poet Shelley called Orpheus the patron saint of poetry. He compares poetry creation to alchemy, which can transform monotony and mediocrity into beauty and charm, can make stones shine like jewels, and can turn ordinary trees in the garden into fairies and seaside dancers. Shelley believes that poetry is superior to music, painting and sculpture, and is the highest art form. He used Orpheus’ harp as a metaphor in “Defense of Poetry”, describing the process of poetry production: people are like lyre, external and internal impressions pass through the human heart, like a gust of wind blowing through the lyre, Let the strings play a constantly changing tune. In “Ode to the West Wind” Shelley wrote: “Take me as your lyre, like a forest: even though my leaves are falling, what does it matter!” In Shelley’s view, the poet’s heart is the waiting The strings being plucked.
  There are also many operas based on the story of Orpheus, such as the opera “Uridice” composed by the Italian Renaissance composer Jacob Perry in 1600, and the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi. The opera “Orpheus” composed in 1607, the opera “Ulidice to Orpheus” composed in 1762 by the German composer Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck “Wait.
  Although Orpheus is not a warrior on the battlefield, he has won people’s love with his extraordinary poetry and musical talent. He is the god of poetry and music, and a lover of infatuation. He rushed into the underworld to save his wife and defeated death with the power of love and art. However, he was unable to control himself in the end, leading to tragedy. Perhaps, love is like his turning back, fragile, fleeting, and only memories last forever.