Plate: 21.4 x 17.3 cm (8 7/16 x 6 13/16 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1930.579
Catalogue raisonné: Delaborde 175.131 ; Bartsch XIV 236.314 ; Passavant VI.30.191
In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a singer and poet. He was given a lyre by Apollo, the god of music, and was taught to play by the Muses. His songs, melodiously accompanied by his instrument, were so beautiful that they pacified wild animals, calmed the seas, and animated trees and rocks. Here, a subdued bear is depicted in close proximity to a dog, and stones have gathered at the musician’s feet. The instrument depicted here is a lira da braccio, an instrument played by Leonardo da Vinci at the time when this engraving was made.
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