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  • Masked satyr marble statue to make $5m at Sotheby's Antiquities auction?
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • marbleMaskedsatyrstatue

Masked satyr marble statue to make $5m at Sotheby's Antiquities auction?

A Roman marble statue of a young satyr wearing a theatre mask of Silenus is valued at $3m-5m ahead of Sotheby's Egyptian, Classical and Western Asiatic Antiquities sale in New York on December 12.

The statue dates to the 1st century AD, with restorations carried out by noted baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi in 1628.

Satyr Silenus mask Roman
The lower half of the child's face is visible through the mask

It is the only known sculpture that depicts this particular subject, which often appears in relief elsewhere, and demonstrates the virtuosic skill of its creator.

Satyrs are half-human, half-goat figures that appear in both Roman and Greek mythology in relation to the deities Pan and Dionysius.

The figure was most probably discovered in the grounds of the Villa Ludovisi in Rome circa 1620.

It certainly attracted the attention of a number of notable 17th century artists. It was drawn by the famous draughtsman Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) at least twice.

Over the centuries, it featured in various high profile collections of Roman art, including that of Pope Gregory XV.

A monumental Greek marble head of Hermes-Thoth dating to the second century BC is valued at $2.5m-3.5m.

It features a pointed lotus leaf headdress, which while common on smaller bronze statues of Hermes, is extremely rare on marble figures from the same era.

It has been compared to similar marble heads by the Greek sculptor, Skopas - examples of which are featured in the British Museum in London.

The countenance and detailing, meanwhile, bear close resemblance to a number of depictions of Herakles that are believed to derive from a 4th century BC original known as the "Lenbach Herakles" type.

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Images: Sotheby's

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • marbleMaskedsatyrstatue