This late 1st century CE marble torso is in the ‘resting satyr’ style and is a part of a group of Roman works made in antiquity and inspired by the famous original by the 4th century BCE sculptor Praxiteles. The satyr is identifiable by the panther pelt slung across his shoulders and the tilt of the body in the Praxitelean manner. It is thought that the original bronze statue (now lost) once stood along the Street of Tripods near the Athenian Acropolis.
Roman copy (Late First Century CE) of a Greek
Satyrs were animalistic men, often depicted with pointed ears and a tail, but generally with human legs, rather than the goat legs of Pan. Satyrs were spirited and lascivious woodland deities, followers of Dionysius, they were often in the company of Maenads drinking, dancing and playing the flute.
The number of ‘resting satyr’ works which have been found indicates that the subject was fashionable during the Roman period. Their popularity waned over time until it was rekindled by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Marble Faun, published in 1860. Hawthorne’s description of the Capitoline Museum’s satyr “this race of fauns was the most delightful of all that antiquity imagined… being at once friendly and wild”, inspired generations of writers and artists who flocked to Italy to admire the statue.