Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Orpheus and Eurydice

Artist:
Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Date:
modeled ca. 1887, carved 1893
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
Overall (confirmed): 48 3/4 × 31 1/8 × 25 3/8 in., 856 lb. (123.8 × 79.1 × 64.5 cm, 388.3 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910
Accession Number:
10.63.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800
The mythical poet Orpheus braved the underworld to rescue his dead wife, Eurydice. The gods allowed her ghost to follow him and regain life, provided that Orpheus did not look at her until both had reached the sunlit earth. Rodin depicts Eurydice’s spirit floating in the underworld’s dark entrance while Orpheus hesitates at the threshold. Because he cannot feel her phantom embrace, or hear her spectral voice, Orpheus turns to see if his beloved has come. An instant later he will glimpse her, and Eurydice will vanish. This exquisitely carved sculpture, one of the first Rodin works to come to America, is the only marble example of the composition.
Signature: Signed and dated (on left edge of background rock): A. Rodin / 1893
Charles T. Yerkes (until 1910; sale, American Art Association, New York, January 22, 1910, no. 251); [ sale, American Art Association , New York, April 11–13, 1910, no. 251; sold to Ryan ] ; Thomas Fortune Ryan , New York (in 1910; to MMA)
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