My first- and immediate- connection with this painting happens with the vigorous and focused eyes of the girl. In contrast to them, the look of the horse (note that his eye is basically defined by a tiny dot of white paint) is cool, calm. The diagonal formed by his wavy mane (which, thanks to the brushstroke, appears to be a dark fire) as well as the horizontal position of the girl, give the impression of movement. The horse acts as the “nest” which highlights the main character. The use of orange-red contributes to the concept of vitality.
The immensity of this event in the landscape can be immediately perceived, especially by observing the size of the brown house represented in the lower left corner. The relationship between the sun’s reflection on the earth, the shadow caused by the smoke and the mountain peak in the background contribute to the sense of depth. I’m currently reading The Lord of the Rings and this painting reminds me of some of the landscapes described in the book.
The expression of sorrow is explicit, dramatic and theatrical. Orpheus is depicted according to classical patterns of beauty and youth, however such concepts are not sufficient to rid him of vulnerability. His bare feet on the rough ground of a native forest and his ungraciously fallen lyre are secondary elements of emotional intensification.
What I admire the most in Antonio Mancini’s works is his ability to express smoothness through (amazing) gestural strokes. Particularly in this painting, the boy’s naive, curious and calm face works together with colourful and perfectly-crafted flowers on his left. The composition is structured by a main diagonal that interacts harmonically with the diagonal of the boy’s gaze and the tilt of his head.
Simplicity and mystery are perfectly combined in order to create a desolated, melancholic and huge universe. The steel pillar in which the character is leaned on prevents us from analyzing his behavior. Was he (or she) crying? Sleeping? The shadow of the pillar provides the depth of the scene and, metaphorically, also the depth of the feeling expressed by this work.
(Sorry about my imperfect english..)