This oil on canvas is one of a series based on the legend of Orpheus taming the animals. Orpheus plays on a magic flute in the lower right hand corner of the painting, and the animals and birds, hearing the music for the first time, are in a state of alert, entranced and listening to this new sound.
The composition of the oil painting derives from a smaller study in ink and gouache on paper with vertical coloured bands of paper applied as collage. In the finished painting the coloured bands of paper have been changed and transformed into areas of oil paint on the canvas with the main background given in white oil paint and the figure drawing in black. The draughtsmanship in black strokes of the brush is remarkable in itself as it runs over and around the coloured vertical bands, and then in and out of the areas of white, making an intriguing and visually satisfying linear flow which eventually focuses into the final form of the composition