A Roman marble satyr

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Lot 139*
A Roman marble satyr

Sold for £ 62,562 (US$ 78,665) inc. premium
A Roman marble satyr
Circa 1st Century A.D.
His muscular torso contorted, with pronounced iliac crest and defined abdominal muscles, with his left thigh raised and left arm drawn behind his back, the head upward-gazing and twisted to the right, with thick wavy locks swept away from the forehead and falling loosely onto the neck, his face with angular features and high cheekbones, his heavily-lidded eyes creased at the outer corners, the lips slightly parted, 49cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Gerard Moerdyk (1890-1958) collection, South Africa, acquired late 1940s; and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Statues of satyrs were often depicted in motion, whether dancing, brawling or pursuing nymphs. The contortions of the present lot suggest the satyr was part of a group depicted in the midst of a fight. For another example of a fighting satyr in a dramatic pose, with his head and left thigh similarly raised, see M. Moltesen, Imperial Rome II. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 2002, no. 96.

    Gerard Moerdyk remains one of the most prominent Afrikaans architects, particularly known for his design of the famous Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Alongside his passion for architecture, Moerdyk developed a keen interest in the ancient world. His admiration for Egyptian temple architecture, which he considered to symbolise African greatness, is thought to have influenced the Voortrekker Monument, with his 1932 sketches bearing resemblance to the Temple of Horus at Edfu. His interest in archaeology was further cultivated by his numerous trips to Italy between 1946-1949. According to family tradition, on one such trip his longstanding artistic collaborator, Romano Romanelli, Professor of Sculpture at the Italian Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, advised Moerdyk to purchase the satyr, believed to have been discovered in the Roman Forum.
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A Roman marble satyr
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