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Fate, love and death - Charles Blackman's Metamorphosis tells the tragic Ancient Greek myth, Orpheus. This story begins with a song. The son of Apollo and Calliope, Orpheus is endowed with miraculous musical ability. An artist through and through, he falls head over heels for Eurydice and they spontaneously wed. Soon after however, she is bitten by a snake and confined to the land of death. Overcome with grief, Orpheus decides to venture into this realm and plead for her life.
For anyone else, this journey would be deadly, but for Orpheus the gift of music proves to be his saviour. With poetic song, he disarms the ferryman, three headed guard dog and eventually, king of the Underworld, Hayes. So charmed is Hayes, that he permits Eurydice’s freedom upon one condition - that as they exit, she must travel behind him and if Orpheus looks back at her, she will forever be banished to death. He agrees. As they ascend the stairs, the sun bursts into view. Struck by its radiating beauty, Orpheus turns to share the moment with his love, as he does so however, he betrays Hayes's condition and Eurydice is condemned to death.
In Metamorphosis, Blackman draws these feelings. Contained in a figure's profile, Blackman depicts a blooming mass of change. Evoking both trauma and renewal, this work speaks to the universal experience of transition. Perhaps recognising the fated Orpheus in himself, Metamorphosis is a testament to the power and pain of love. This is a rare, poetic work by one of Australia's most celebrated artists.
Charles BLACKMAN (1928 - 2018)'Orpheus - Metamorphosis' 1983lithograph on paperEdition of 30Image Size: 57 x 34 cm Signed: Signed Charles Blackman bottom, editioned and titled in marginComes with Letter of Provenance>Condition: excellent
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