Roelandt SaveryFlanders 1576-1639
Orpheus Charming the Beasts 25.0239
In Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of King Oaegrus and the muse Calliope, who learned to play the lyre from Apollo. The music of Orpheus was so beautiful that wild beasts became tame and rocks and trees were tempted to leave their places and follow him. This mythological subject provided Savery with a great opportunity to include a vast variety of species in one painting, many of them observed and drawn at King Rudolf II's menagerie in Prague. Savery was born into a Flemish family of painters. When their home town fell to Spain in 1580, the family moved from the southern (Roman Catholic) to the northern (Protestant) provinces, joining an Anabaptist community in Haarlem. Savery became known for his exotic landscapes full of animals, once being paid 700 guilders (an enormous sum) for a painting of "all the animals of the air and earth." He influenced a whole generation of landscape painters, including Esaias van de Velde and Adam Willaerts.
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