FNAR 200_ Final Paper.pdf - A Satyr Fight for the Power of...

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A Satyr Fight for the Power of Dionysus FNAR 200-001:History of Art I–Prehistory to Renaissance Dr. Marilyn Dunn November 18, 2019
1 The Roman 1st century CE sculpture of the Statuary Group of Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpent, located at the Art Institute of Chicago, shows the struggle for power as the satyrs serve their deity, Dionysus. Satyrs have been a big part of Greek and Roman mythology, and have developed in their portrayal through the history of art. They are normally depicted as some sort of naked man. Sometimes they look fully human, and sometimes they look half-human and half-goat. Satyrs are not normally portrayed as the ideal person. They are mischievous creatures and known for their indecent humour. The way that satyr are shown through Roman art is usually a human man with a horse tail, which makes the statue that this paper analyzes is 1particularly interesting and unique as it lacks tails and several other common characteristics of satyrs during this time period. The Statuary Group of Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpentwas excavated in early 1489 by Roman antiquities dealer Giovanni Ciampolini in the gardens of the convent of Lorenzo in Panisperna, on the Viminal Hill in Rome. It was to be delivered to Lorenzo the Magnificent. With one arm already broken on the statue, it was packed up in a crate, strapped to a mule, and sent off to Rome. Upon arrival the head of the serpent was also missing. Later on it is theorized that that the Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpentremained in Lorenzo’s collection until his death in 1492. However, there is no written evidence of this. It is actually the only surviving marble sculpture from this collection in Florence. After his death, the collection of art that Lorenzo owned was dispersed. For 350 years there is no known evidence to prove where the statuary 1Padgett, Michael, ed. The Centaur’s Smile.Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Art Museum, 2004. Exhibition catalog.
2 group actually went. It reappeared in a private collection in the town of Split, which is located on the Dalmatian coast. Now the statue is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. 2The Statuary Group of Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpent(figure 1) is a white marble statue. It depicts three satyrs that are fighting a serpent together. This serpent has itself wrapped around all of the satyrs, with a strong grip on each of them. It starts on the right satyr and ends on the arm of the left satyr. All of the limbs are entangled by the serpent. The serpent’s head would have been positioned above the shoulder of the satyr on the left, but it was broken off and never recovered. The middle satyr is laying down and has itself draped across the other two satyrs. On

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