A story about this — 5 years ago
I think I like the myth behind this painting more than the actual painting. It captures the moment just before disaster:
One day as Eurydice was walking near a river she accidentally stepped on a snake that was sunning itself on the bank. The snake bit her, and Eurydice died. Orpheus was heartbroken. Not wanting to live without his beloved Eurydice, Orpheus decided to go down into the underworld to bring her back. With his songs he entranced all of the monsters and guardians of the underworld, and was soon in the presence of Hades and Persephone. At first they would not consider Orpheus’ pleas to allow Eurydice back into the land of the living, but Orpheus sang of his sadness to them, and their resolve melted. They agreed to allow Orpheus to bring Eurydice back with him, but he could not look at her until they were out of the underworld. Orpheus readily agreed to this and began his descent. At first he could hear his beloved’s footfalls behind him, but as his journey progressed they became fainter and fainter. When he was only a few meters from the exit he could no longer hear Eurydice following him. Ignoring the warnings, and fearing a trick by the gods he looked back to see if Eurydice was still behind him. Eurydice’s spirit gave a small shriek and disappeared back into the land of the dead.