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Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Cast of three-figured relief depicting Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus

Cast of three-figured relief depicting Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus

From: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

RA Collection: Art

The cast is of a three-figured relief that shows Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus. It was taken from a panel which is now in the Museo Nazionale in Naples but it shows a different head of Orpheus than that panel now does. The cast thus dates before the restoration of the Naples panel.

There are four other extant Roman copies of the same composition. The original model , on which the Roman marble panel from which this 18th c. cast was made, was probably part of a prominent public monument of the fifth century BC in Athens.

According to the myth, the young Eurydice was bitten by a serpent and died. Her distraught husband, Orpheus won over the gods of the underworld with his mournful music. They permitted him to retrieve Eurydice on the condition that he did not look at her until they reached the upper world. Orpheus descended to the realm of Hades but just before reaching the world of the living he turned to check that Eurydice was following. She was therefore banished to the underworld once more. The relief depicts the moment when Orpheus, lyre in hand, turns to Eurydice. At the left, Hermes reaches for Eurydice’s hand to guide her back to the underworld.

Object details

Cast of three-figured relief depicting Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus
Object type
Cast Sculpture
Plaster cast

1280 mm x 1020 mm x 110 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
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