Statue group of Satyr and Hermaphrodite

59.148.30

About this object

Statue group of Satyr and Hermaphrodite, reproducing a popular type, known in more than 30 marble replicas and some bronzes and taking its name from the group in Dresden. The young hermaphrodite wrestles with an old satyr. A cloth underneath them suggests that the scene is taking place outdoors, perhaps just before the hermaphrodite laid down before her napping or her bath. The two figures are similar in size, the hermaphrodite seems to be unbalancing the satyr, pushing him hard on his face and shifting him backwards by lifting his back leg. She has her right ankle wrapped around him and this may hinder her escape. There is no indication of what the final outcome of the battle will be. Different to other examples from the same type, the hermaphrodite of this group does not seem to have her mouth open in terror but seems to smile, mocking the attacker.
The base was discovered with the group but does not belong to it. The inscription on the base is modern. The statue was found in the remains of a villa at Prato Bagnato on the Via Prenestina in 1776 by Nicola La Piccola and sold to Blundell in 1786. The statue of Dionysos (59.148.32) was found in the same context as well as the Head of Apollo and the Head of Isis. The base is a restoration and the inscription on the right end is modern. There are several restorations on the left arm and right leg of the hermaphrodite, her left breasts. Restorations to the satyr include the lower right leg from the knee, the lower calf and the foot, right thigh and some damage on the fingers and toes. The group may have been chemically treated and some recutting may have taken place in the hermaphrodite's breast.
Statues of this type would have been displayed in Roman villas or theatres, many versions displayed as duos and apart from their erotic undertones may have also served as a point of conversation of the differences between men and women or the dangers of lust for aged men.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    2nd Century AD
  • Materials
    Marble
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Salone
  • Date collected
    1786
  • Measurements
    620 mm x 600 mm; 24 7/16 in x 23 5/8 in
  • Note
    Bartman discusses earlier claims that this type of the statue derived from Ceiphisosdotus, the 3rd century BC sculptor, mentioend by Pliny as the creator of the type. The complexity of angles and voids may suggest that the type derived from a pictorial prototype or may have influenced similar images for wall paintings. The group would be of a later date than the known type of the sleeping hermaphrodite ( dated in the 2nd century BC ). Bartman proposed a late Hellenistic date for the prototype that inspired the Roman version of the Imperial period. Precise date is difficult because of the damage and reworking.
    Townley mentioned in a letter to Blundell that the work is indelicate and it would be difficult to be displayed openly. The erotic nature of the work was appealing to the 18th century Grand Tourists, the inscription was probably added around that time Βουπαλος εποιει, the name of the Greek sculptor who supposingly made the work. Although a sculptor with that name is known, he is more from the Archaic period. Bartman suggests that the inscription may not have been added to add value to the work but may also be a reference to size of the genitalia of the Satyr. The forger would have therefore been a well read person in classical texts.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, previous owner); Niccolo La Piccola (Previous owner); Joseph William Col Sir Weld (Previous owner)

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Publications

  • A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Ince Blundell Hall

    Ashmole, Bernard

    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
    Description: An illustrated catalogue of the ancient sculptures collected by Henry Blundell and formerly at Ince Blundell Hall.

  • A Selection from the Ince Blundell Hall Marbles

    Author:
    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Date: 1961
    Description:

  • An Account of the Statues, Busts, Bass Relieves, Cinerary Urns, and other ancient marbles, and paintings at Ince. Collected by H.B.

    Blundell, Henry

    Author: Blundell, Henry
    Publisher:
    Date: 1803
    Description:

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882
    Description:

  • Digging and Dealing in eighteenth-century Rome

    Bignamini, I and Hornsby,C.

    Author: Bignamini, I and Hornsby,C.
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Date: 2010
    Description: A catalogue of sites excavated in Italy in the 18th century complete with records of findings and maps. A section on dealers and other characters in 18th century collecting of antiquities, includes an entrry on Henry Blundell and references to some of the sculptures in the department of antiquities at World Museum.

  • Henry Blundell's Sculpture Collection at Ince Hall

    Vaughan, Gerard

    Author: Vaughan, Gerard
    Publisher: Tate Gallery, Liverpool; National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside
    Date: 1989
    Description:

  • Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae

    Author:
    Publisher: Artemis
    Date: 1981
    Description:

  • Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Vermeule, C; von Bothmer, D

    Author: Vermeule, C; von Bothmer, D
    Publisher:
    Date: 1959-04
    Description:

  • The Ince Blundell collection of classical sculpture Volume III-The ideal sculpture

    Bartman, Elizabeth

    Author: Bartman, Elizabeth
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 2017
    Description:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Niccolo La Piccola

    Owned from: 1775
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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