Orpheus Fountain


Venue: Cranbrook Academy of Art & Art Museum
Location: North of Cranbrook Art Museum
Carl Milles
Cast 1937, Bronze

The circle of eight figures in the Cranbrook version of Orpheus Fountain could represent shades (or souls) from the Underworld, or as Milles himself has been quoted as saying, simply “people listening to music.” The only identifiable figure in the group is that of Beethoven, who, in his deafness, raises his arms in a gesture of despair because he cannot hear Orpheus’s music. The original Orpheus Fountain in Stockholm, Sweden, has a 38-foot figure of Orpheus in the center, which is omitted from the Cranbrook version.