Orpheus and Cerberus

Orpheus and Cerberus

c. 1765

Ferdinand Tietz

(Austrian, 1708-1777)


With base: 304.8 cm (120 in.); Base: 38.1 x 102.9 x 102.9 cm (15 x 40 1/2 x 40 1/2 in.); without base: 182.9 x 106.7 x 61 cm (72 x 42 x 24 in.); Pedestal: 89.5 x 88.9 x 88.9 cm (35 1/4 x 35 x 35 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1971.65

Fun Fact

Taught to play the lyre by the Greek god Apollo, Orpheus's legendary musical abilities had the power to charm animals.


This work was one of numerous sculptures Tietz created for the gardens of Schloss Seehof, near Bamberg in Bavaria (Germany), the summer residence of the Prince Bishops of Bamberg. The exaggerated forms of Orpheus's face and musculature caricature the idealized proportions of classical sculpture. A further parody exists with his companion: the usually terrifying hound Cerberus is here nothing more than a docile puppy, sitting calmly at Orpheus's feet. Meant to be viewed outdoors, on a high pedestal and from a distance, this work is less finely detailed than sculptures Tietz made for indoor settings at Seehof.

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