1st- 2nd Century A.D
Marble Bust of a Satyr
This over life--size marble bust (total, ht. 82 cm; from chin to top of head 27 cm; w. 73 cm) represents a satyr, a follower of the Greek god Dionysos. The identity is clear from his long-pointed ears and the goat skin (nebris), often worn by satyrs, that he wears around his torso. The bust, said to have come from the Roman town of Italica (near Seville, Spain), had formerly been in a palace in Seville. The bust is carved in a white Greek marble, most likely Pentellic with the nebris added in alabaster. The lower part of the bust was broken and repaired; the head reattached. The sculpture is well preserved except for the now missing nose and part of the nebris. The base of the statue is modern.
Because of the distinctive marble type and closeness of the fit, the reattached head and torso were once part of an original ancient sculpture. Although the bust form is generally used for portraits of ancient historical personages, this work appears to constitute a rare example of satyr represented in this form. However, the way the marble is worked at the back, which appears unparalleled for other normal bust forms, suggests that this may have once been a full length ancient statue of a satyr that had been cut down in antiquity to create a bust, after the lower part of the statute suffered some damage. The similarity in the the patina over the entire surface of this sculpture at least suggests that both reattached head and torso were once part of the same original ancient sculpture.
Stylistically, typologically, and compositionally, this bust of a satyr appears to be an adapted copy of a famous statue of a satyr leaning against a tree trunk attributed to the fourth century B.C. master sculptor Praxiteles (for the original, see B.S. Ridgway, Fourth--Century Styles in Greek Sculpture (Madison 1997) pp. 258--67). One of the best replicas of the various copies of this statue made in the Roman period is in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, illustrated below. Stylistically, our sculpture was probably made in the Roman period (ca. 1--2 cent. A.D.).