Waterhouse's fascination with ancient myth and violence is evident in his work. In his other works, such as Ulysses and the Sirens, he focused on the more violent aspects of the myth. Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus 1900 is one such example. The nymphs' kindly gazes draw the viewer into the picture, despite the violent nature of the scene. However, the nymphs' more horrified body language also plays a role in drawing the viewer in.
Waterhouse's nymphs paintings, such as Hylas and the Nymphs, reflect his influences as an artist from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His relationship with the Royal Academy was one of his most successful. While he did work with other artists and painters, he also painted many works of a similar style. His pieces often reflect the style and vision of the Aesthetic Movement. His depictions of women finding Orpheus' head are reminiscent of Jane Morris, a famous Pre-Raphaelite, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's muse, Jane Morris.
The myth is an interesting one. In the myth, Orpheus saved the Argonauts from the Sirens. He also married Eurydice, but she died from a snakebite. After Eurydice's death, Orpheus ventured to the underworld to find her. He managed to charm the guardians of the River Styx, the ferryman Charon, and the dog Cerberus. Once he reached Hades, he sang his way through. After singing, he requested that Eurydice be returned to him. He was granted his wish, and Hades returned his beloved to him.