"Orpheus Charming Animals, Flemish School XVIth Century (workshop Of Frans Pourbus The Elder)"Painting depicting the mythological scene in which "Orpheus enchants animals to the sound of his violin"
Flemish school of the 16th century
Workshop of Frans POURBUS the Elder (Bruges, 1545/1546 - Anvers, 1581)
oil on panel, 77 x 100 cm, framed 90 x 113
All the photographic details (link):https://www.antichitacastelbarco.it/it/prodotto/-orfeo-incanta-gli-animali-con-la-musica
The painting in question, which draws literary foundation from Ovid's Metamorphoses (book XI, vv. 1-2), constitutes one of the rarest and most appreciated mythological representations of the legend of Orpheus who, with the enchanting power of his violin, placates animals that they listen to him, enraptured by his mastery.
The classic theme of the mythical Orpheus capable of enchanting fairs with his music was widely spread in the Flemish context, offering the starting point for the representation of paradisiacal landscapes populated by the most diverse species of animals.
One of the frequent interpreters of this subject was Jan Bruegel the Elder, from whom our work seems to draw on numerous elements. Among the artists who must have taken inspiration from the great master, we find the Flemish Frans Pourbus the Elder (Bruges, 1545 - Antwerp, 1581) to whom we feel we can approach his work.
Together with his son, Frans Pourbus the Younger (Antwerp 1569 - Paris 1622), he started a fruitful shop specializing in high quality portraiture, a genre that made them famous already in the 16th century in Antwerp.
His production of works with a religious or mythological subject, such as the one proposed, although less known, is very pleasant. It can easily be compared to two Pourbus tables with the same subject, one in the Pitchal collection, Paris (https://rkd.nl/nl/explore/images/record?filters%5Bkunstenaar%5D=Pourbus%2C+Frans+% 28I% 29 & query = & start = 15), and the other kept at Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
During the Renaissance there are many representations of Orpheus who, transfixed by the pain of the loss of his beloved Eurydice, transforms his suffering into celestial music, capable of enchanting animals and gathering around him, in a peaceful coexistence, predators and preys.
The Orphic allegories represent the power of harmony to elevate creation, from its condition of imperfection, to make it strive for perfection in the universe of the celestial spheres. Orpheus' music is a symbol of man's ability to strive for improvement, and the possibility of creating the cosmic order from earthly imperfection.
Needless to say, it is a subject of great charm, which would lend itself to a thematic study.
The table, which is in excellent condition.