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  • image M1012

Torso of a vine-clad satyr: possibly represented as one of the Seasons

Pentelic marble

Height: 57cm

Museum number: M1012

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 374help-vermeule-catalogue-number

On display: Basement South Passage
All spaces are in No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields unless identified as in No. 12, Soane's first house. For tours https://www.soane.org/your-visit

Curatorial note

This is a young male torso of a Satyr with a curled tail. The body is wrapped by a single fruit-bearing vine which winds from the breaks along the right leg, across the back, over the left shoulder and beside the left breast. On the left side the vine was incorporated into fruit and foliage which probably connected with the support. The remains of the support for an attributive object (?) appear on the right shoulder.

A small statue of a Satyr with fruit- and grape-bearing (?) vine encircling the body in this manner is rare and suggests either a purely Bacchic or perhaps both Bacchic and seasonal connection. In addition to attributes of the harvest on the cloak over its left arm, a similar fruit-bearing vine encircles the torso of a statuette in the Museo Nazionale Romano, termed a little 'Genius of Autumn' or Ampelos (Aurigemma, Terme di Diocleziano, p.65, no.154-48113, and the previous, no.153-42, which is similarly designated; photos Chauffourier, nos. 1854, 1730). Like the Soane torso both these are small-scale examples which suggest Roman garden sculpture. One derives from the Museo Kircheriano, the other from Lanuvio. There is a somewhat analogous 'Season' torso (head, most of both arms and legs missing) from a small statue in the Louvre Reserve collection, which had the left arm raised and held a basket (?) on the left shoulder, the right arm at the side (no.301; c.45 high; compare also with the torso from Formia: Spinazzola, A.D. pl.61). A small basket might be the object supported on the right shoulder of the Soane Satyr.

The treatment of the vine clinging to the outline of this torso is not unlike that of the aegis worn by the male figure in the double herm in Cortona (Einzelaufnahmen, VII, p.40f., no.1973f.). The dowel hole in the left shoulder might have been the attachment for an object such as the mostly restored pedum in a similar position in the hand of the rosso antico Satyr in the Gabinetto delle Maschere of the Vatican (Amelung, VC, II, no.432, pl.76.). Finally, the purely Bacchic aspect of such a figure is paralleled by the heavily restored but quite exquisite figure of a dancing Satyr in the Palazzo Colonna, Rome (Einzelaufnahmen, IV, no.1149); here the vine is supplemented by a wind-blown cloak.

Provenance help-art-provenance


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