Orpheus and Eurydice

Object Details


Orpheus and Eurydice


Jean Raoux (French, 1677 - 1734)




about 1709


Oil on canvas


205.7 x 203.2 cm (81 x 80 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of William P. Garred

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In the center of the picture, Orpheus happily pulls along his wife Eurydice after having won her release from Hades by his enchanting violin playing. Pluto, ruler of Hades, and his wife Proserpine observe their departure from the upper left. The three Fates ominously spin the future at the left, foreshadowing Orpheus's eventual unhappiness. He broke the one condition that Proserpine had set for Eurydice's return to earth: he could not look at her until their arrival. On reaching earthly light, Orpheus could not resist a glimpse, so Eurydice vanished forever.

Jean Raoux painted the scene in a highly theatrical manner, spotlighting the figures and arranging them as if on a stage. The action seems especially compressed because the canvas was cut down on all sides early in the twentieth century.

about 1709

Possibly Palazzo Giustinian-Lolin (Venice, Italy), possibly commissioned from the artist, about 1709.

- 1883

Beurdeley [sold, Chevallier Beurdeley sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 23, 1883, lot 353.]

- 1897

Possibly Private Collection [sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 26, 1897, lot 1.]

- 1904

Private Collection [sold, Garnaud, Paris, June 16, 1904, lot 25.]

- 1970

Beasly (Los Angeles, California), sold to M.J.L. Bordeau, September 1970.

1970 -

M.J.L. Bordeau

- 1973

Dr. William P. Garred (Onawa, Iowa), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

Exposition Jean Raoux (November 27, 2009 to April 11, 2010) (Cat. 3)
  • Musée Fabre, (Montpellier), November 27, 2009 to April 11, 2010