Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog number 60.2
Artist Severo da Ravenna
Artist 2 Riccio, Andrea
Title Satyress with Child Satyr
Date 1500
Object Name Figurine
Description Attributed to the workshop of the prominent Paduan sculptor Severo da Ravenna, this statuette shows a satyress sitting calmly on an antique-style tree stump, with one arm around the shoulders of a child satyr, and the other extended, probably once supporting the candleholder now bolted to the statuette's base. In the tradition of similar Renaissance bronzes, the group is elegantly and naturalistically modeled, with a typical interest in the careful and lifelike representation of bodily form.

Like the statuette's naturalistic style, its subject would have been incongruous in the pre-Renaissance era. The satyress, like her male counterpart, the satyr, is a creature derived from classical mythology. Combining human features with those of the goat or horse, note her horns, tail, and hairy, goat-like legs, she appears in antique art and culture in connection with the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry, and often as a symbol of wild and unbridled sexuality.

In representing a mythological creature, the statue reflects the growing awareness and interest in Classical thought and culture that emerged during the Renaissance. By emphasizing naturalistic form and by choosing imagery with heavy, sexual connotations, the statue signals a return to an understanding of the body and of sexuality that was unaffected by Christian asceticism. Still, this satyress, presented in a calm and motherly pose, can be seen not as an unqualified rebirth of Classical ideals, but as a gentler and more restrained comment on the forces of the natural world.

The statuette is an example of a genre of satyr imagery that became popular among Italian artists of the early 1500 AD period. (compare cat. no. 45) - referring to the rites of Bacchanal. In it, as in the period generally, it is possible to trace the combination of classical and medieval influences that defined early modern views of lust and embodiment.
Nava Streiter, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, 37.
Medium/Material Bronze
Dimensions H-8 W-5.25 inches
Search Terms Renaissance
16th century AD
Greek and Roman
Metalwork, bronze
Exhibition and Publication History *"Queens College Art Collection," 1960, #247.
* "Italian Art 15th to 18th Century: Selections from the Permanent Collection," G-TM, 1986, #31, p. 44
* "Goddess, Worker, Mother, Symbol: Images of Women in World Art," G-TM, 1994, #37. James Saslow, Curator.
*"Director's Choice, Part II" 10/10 - 12/2002, #2. Amy Winter, Curator.
*Exhibited "Director's Choice, Part II," G-TM 10/10-12/2002. Amy Winter, Curator.
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 37, ill.
Culture Italian