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  • image M467

Sculptured furniture support: torso of a Silenus or Centaur

Pentelic marble

Height: 25cm
Width: 16cm

Museum number: M467

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 234help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A stout, elderly male torso, twisted about to the right and wearing a broad belt about the waist with a buckle at the right side. The fragment of the thigh projecting horizontally from the right side, the position of the right arm drawn back and the left elevated, above all the presence of two obvious parallel supports for a flat surface between the neck and base of the shoulder blades all suggest a figure of a kneeling or half-seated Silenus employed as support for a table or similar object.

A comparison for the general type is offered by a marble fountain with figures of Silenus holding the wineskin on his back as supports for the basin, in the Museo Pio Clementino1; also by the Silenus supports on a vase from the Albani collection and the well known example in the British Museum2. The alternative, also possible from the peculiarity of the break at the right thigh, is that this figure is the torso of a Centaur from a large furniture fragment such as the support of a cart carved in the main section behind3.

1 S. Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque et Romaine, Paris, 1897, I, p. 414, no.5.
2 G.B. Piranesi, Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi Tripodi, Lucerne, ed Ornamenti Antichi, Fol., Rome, 1779, pls. 53, 57ff.
3 Cp. the elaborate table supports in Naples, S. Reinach, Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, Paris, 1909-12, III, p. 67; V. Spinazzola, Le Arti Decorative in Pompei e nel Museo Nazionale di Napoli, Milan, 1928, pl. 35, and the Museo Arqaeologico, Madrid, Einzelaufnahmen, 1743.

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