A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr
Lot 50* W
A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr
Sold for £194,500 (US$ 317,595) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr
A Roman rosso antico marble head of a satyr
Flavian Period, late 1st Century A.D.
After a Hellenistic prototype, lifesized, depicted a youthful satyr turning to his left, his round face with dimpled full cheeks and a smiling slightly open mouth, his nose snub, tiny horns emerging from his forehead above a heavy browline, his long pointed ears amongst thick wavy hair secured with a band, set on a later after the antique rosso antico bust with a nebris tied at the left shoulder, and a coloured marble socle, 12in (30.5in) height of head; 24½in (62.2cm) overall height including socle

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    American private collection, Los Angeles, California, acquired in the late 1980s.
    Collection of Peter Paanakker (d. 1999), Los Angeles, California, acquired in England in the mid-1970s.
    Althorp House, Northamptonshire. Thought to have been acquired in Italy in the late 18th to early 19th Century by one of the Spencer Earls during a Grand Tour, thence by descent.

    Published:
    C. Klages in A. Scholl, Die antiken Skulpturen in Farnborough Hall sowie in Althorp House, Blenheim Palace, Lyme Park und Penrice Castle, Monumenta Artis Romanae XXIII, 1995, 12 f. Nr. A2. Illustrated with a photograph taken at Althorp in 1973.
    Arachne, no. 290.

    Literature:
    The bust was one of several satyr statues in Althorp collected along with many other classical sculptures by the Spencer family on their frequent visits to Italy in the eighteenth amd nineteenth Centuries. George John, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834), had a particular penchant for antiquities, which is well-documented in his notebooks relating to his travels around Italy: British Library, Althorp Papers, vols. mcccxxxvii-mcccxli, Add MS 76634-76636.

    Such depictions of satyrs were derived from Hellenistic prototypes, and a number of Roman copies and variants have survived demonstrating the characteristically round face and pointed ears, deeply carved long hair and laughing or smiling expressions. For examples of the type, cf. M. Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, New York, 1955, pp. 139-40, figs. 568-9, 573 (also rosso antico), and 574-5.

    Rosso antico marble was a popular choice of medium in depicting Bacchic subjects such as Dionysus and satyrs, presumably due to its red wine colour. It would appear that this also made them a suitable choice for decorating a Roman villa, symbolising the conviviality which was an important part of the entertainment function of such establishments, whilst at the same time conveying the education and artistic taste of the owner. For a similar depiction of a satyr (restored as full-length) in rosso antico from the Emperor Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, cf. T. Opper, Hadrian. Empire and Conflict, London, 2008, p. 165, fig. 149.

    For a similar depiction of a herm bust of a satyr in giallo antico, cf. R.M. Schneider et al, Villa Albani. Katalog der Antiken Bildwerke, vol. 1, Berlin, 1989, kat. no. 110, pp. 342-346, fig. 193-194. For an example of another rosso antico satyr head, cf. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, accession number 2006.110.
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    Specialist - Antiquities
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