The bronze Orpheus by Marcks in front of the music school in Düren is based on an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which Ovid describes him as a poet and musician from Thrace. When Orpheus' wife Eurydice dies, he follows her into the underworld to bring her back. The ruler of the underworld, Pluto, and his wife Proserpina set as a condition for redemption that Orpheus must not look back as he goes out. On the last few meters, he does look back due to the incoming daylight, and Eurydice dies a second time. Orpheus returns to Thrace and from now on his songs only reflect the pain of the final loss.
Standing upright with a lowered violin in his left hand, the bow touches his lowered head: Marcks shows Orpheus in a moment of pause.