Lot 1805: Post Medieval Renaissance Statuette of a Satyr
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 16th century AD. A Paduan cast bronze mount in the form of a naked satyr standing on a bar terminating in a recurved hoof; the left hand gripping the hair and right hand bearing an amphora of wine raised to the shoulder; to the rear, a bracket for attachment; supplied with custom-made display stand. Cf. Kaufmann, L. The Noble Savage: Satyrs and Satyr Families in Renaissance Art, Michigan, 1981, for discussion. 1.2 kg, 20.5cm including stand (8"). Ex Levett Collection, Mus?e d?Art Classique de Mougins, France; formerly with Peter Sternberg, early 1980s, and an XRF certificate from Oxford X-ray Fluorescence Ltd accompanies the piece. During the Renaissance the Satyr personified evil, or rather lust, one of the Seven Deadly Sins of the Bible. The well known antics of the satyrs from Greek and Roman art and literature, which included drunkenness and fornication, would have led to them being seen in a negative light in Christian Europe. However, around 1500 Satyrs started to be seen for a short while in a new light, reflecting interest in primitivism, at the start of the age of exploration. Thus satyrs began to be depicted together with their families, and it is possible that this piece formed part of a larger group, possibly an inkstand. Such inkstands were the characteristic product of the workshop of Severo Calzetta, known as Severo da Ravenna, who trained in Padua but spent most of his career working in the city of Ravenna, where he developed a successful business producing bronzes in large numbers. Utensils such as his inkstands were produced as separately cast components which were screwed together to create the finished product. Many examples of the satyr inkstand survive but very few which are absolutely intact.
Condition Report: Very fine condition.