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Orpheus and the Animals

A painting showing a range of real and mythological animals enchanted to a man on the left side playing a stringed instrument

Orpheus and the Animals by Paulus Potter, Public Domain

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  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • Orpheus was a legendary musician in Ancient Greek mythology. The music he played with his lyre (a stringed instrument similar to a harp) was so enchanting that he was able to charm all living things. In this painting, he has charmed all sorts of animals - including some mythological ones. See if you can spot them.

      Things to think about...
      • How many real animals can you spot and how many imaginary ones are there?
      • Why do you think the artist might have included imaginary animals?
      • Do you know any other stories about Orpheus?
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