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John Hegley worked with Year 7 students from Hackney Free and Parochial School. The whole year group came to the National Gallery for the masterclass, some students visiting the Gallery for the very first time. They spent an hour with John looking at the stories behind Greek Mythological paintings.

When they saw 'The Death of Eurydice' by Niccolo dell'Abate, John told them how Orpheus travelled down to the underworld to bring back his wife Eurydice after she was killed by a poisonous snake. He described the difficult journey and how Orpheus was granted his wish to return to the world above with Eurydice, but only on the condition he did not look back to see if she was following him on the way up. The students learnt that at the end of the story Eurydice vanished and Orpheus spent the rest of his days playing music to the animals. John then asked the students to write some lyrics for Orpheus, and John sang these in front of the painting in the Gallery.
Image of students.Click here for Student Responses.
Image of 'The Death of Eurydice' by Niccolo dell'Abate, about 1552-71.Click here for About the Painting.
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