Orpheus and Eurydice attributed to Augustino Carracci (1557-1602)
Remarkable for its pictorial composition, refined modeling and slightly archaic female canon, this terracotta bas-relief depicts the poet Orpheus and his lover Eurydice in the underworld. This identification is made possible by a print made from a drawing by Augustin Carrache in Bologna, shortly before his departure for Rome.
Our bas-relief is thus a rare and exceptional testimony of the practice of sculpture by Augustin Carrache, as well as exchanges that the Carracci wanted to put in place between the arts. The engraving made a lasting impression on the artists, as evidenced by a 17th century majolica dish, a sculpted group by Camillo Pacetti (1758-1826) or a small painting by Gabrielli Giulio (1832-1910), an Italian painter of the 19th century. century. All these works are reversed from the original engraving, so all were made from copies of this engraving.
Indeed, no artist would have taken the risk of literally copying the work of Augustin Carrache to trade without his agreement and thus suffer his wrath or that of his family or his patrons. The drawings and engravings of Augustine, especially the Lascivie, were an essential source of inspiration for the Carracci, especially for their frescoes in the Palazzo Farnese. Their fame and their dominant position in the Roman and northern Italian artistic circles, through their academy as well as through their patrons, made their celebrity as much as they protected them. On the other hand, artists could freely carry out studies and works inspired by originals; our terracotta shows such fidelity to engraving that it cannot fit into either of these two categories
Our Orpheus and Eurydice terracotta marks a turning point in the art of bas-relief, which is no longer a simple sculpted scene but a pictorial composition, independent and decorative.