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image P425

Unidentified artist

An Academical figure

Chalk on paper

Inscription: Small printed serrated label 13 fixed to the front of the glass. This may relate to war-time evacuation of the collection.

Museum number: P425

Curatorial note

This is a drawing of the so-called 'Dancing Faun', a Hellenistic statue that has been on display in the 'Tribuna of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence since the second half of the 1600s and gained a reputation as one of the finest of all antique sculptures. The head and arms were later additions to the sculpture - probably made during the 16th century and once thought ot have been the work of Michelangelo. Two other ancient versions of the same statue were excavated in Rome in the 1630s.

The faun (or Satyr) makes music by playing the ‘crotala’ (similar to cymbals) with his hands whilst at the same time playing a ‘scabellum’ or ‘croupezion’ with his right foot.
This framed work is identified as an 'academical drawing' in the original 1837 inventories of the Soane Museum and was probably made in England, from a cast of the statue. Casts were made of the Uffizi faun from the 1680s onwards. There is a cast in the collection of the Royal Academy in London, where it is possible that this drawing was made. The Uffizi statue includes a tree trunk support on the proper left of the figure of the faun which is not present in the RA cast or this drawing. Although Soane was a student at the Academy this drawing is not by him - if it had been the early inventories, drawn up during his lifetime, would surely have recorded this.


For the history of the Uffizi Dancing Faun see Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), pp.205-8

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk