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Orphic Kisses

Inspired by the Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orphic Kisses is an ongoing series that explores passion and love.

Orphic Kiss I, the first image of the series based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice
Created with original linocuts, illustrations, collaged papers, graphite and acrylic.
Through his mother Calliope, muse of epic poetry, Orpheus inherited the gift of music and verse. With his lyre, he could charm anyone and anything, even birds and the branches that they rested on -- everything.
Orphic Kiss II inspired by the passion of Orpheus & Eurydice
He fell in love with a beautiful nymph named Eurydice and they quickly married.  On the day of their wedding, it came to light that someone else was captivated by Eurydice's beauty. His name was Aristaeus, and he wanted her.  The chase was on.
Detail of Orphic Kiss II (linocuts, acrylic, illustration)
Eurydice ran away from Aristaeus, only to get bitten by a serpent and die. Nothing could console Orpheus. Newly wed, he couldn't live without his bride, so he did the unthinkable: He headed to Hades, the kingdom of the dead, to get her back.
Orphic Kiss III by Suzanne Coley, January 13, 2015
Closed to the living, the doors to the underworld were opened by Orpheus's mesmerizing music and he was granted permission to bring her back. But there was a catch, Eurydice had to follow him in silence, and he couldn't look back until they both were in the world of the living, the light.  Just when he reached the light, but before she had emerged completely from Hades, Orpheus's desire to see her became so strong that he turned back to take a look.  In that moment, all was lost.  Eurydice disappeared forever.

With this series I imagined the vibrations of Orpheus's melodious voice and charming lyre as he traveled through the dark and dangerous underworld to retrieve the love of his life. 


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