French (1795 - 1859) Secondary
Young Satyr Playing the Flute1838 - 1859, after original of 1st-2nd century
15 3/4 in. x 5 1/2 in. x 3 5/8 in. (40.01 cm x 13.97 cm x 9.21 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
The bronze figurine of a satyr playing the flute in the Deanery Collection at Bryn Mawr College is a nineteenth-century small-scale reproduction of a 1st-2nd century CE Roman statue.
The original statue was discovered in Italy and formed part of the Borghese Collection until 1807 when it was purchased by the Louvre (Louvre Inventaire MR 187 [no. usuel Ma 594]). It is 1.32m in height and composed of Parian marble, which comes from the Greek island of Paros.
The original Roman statue that the Bryn Mawr figurine reproduces in miniature may also have been inspired by earlier Greek statue(s) of the same subject. Two famed Greek sculptors of the fourth century BCE, Lysippos and Praxiteles, both created satyr statues according to ancient sources. Unfortunately, these precursors have not survived. Therefore it remains unclear what these Greek satyr statues looked like and whether they influenced the Roman artist who sculpted the Louvre satyr.
In the nineteenth century, a commercial Parisian foundry owned by Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892), the Maison Barbedienne , created a miniature reproduction of the Roman marble in bronze. On the top of the base, behind the feet of the satyr, the letters “F. BARBEDIENNE FONDOUR” mark the piece as from the Maison Barbedienne foundry.
The Maison Barbedienne was able to produce this smaller replica of the Roman statue through Achille Collas’ (1795-1859) invention of the machine à rédure, a pantograph capable of reproducing three dimensional objects. Collas patented his device in 1837 and in 1838 he entered into an exclusive contract with Barbedienne to create faithful, small-scale reproductions of famous works of art. The bronze bust at Bryn Mawr is an example of their collaboration. In addition to the foundry’s mark, there is a small round stamp located on the back side of the base on the left hand side that consists of words encircling a portrait in profile. The stamp reads “REDUCTIO[N] [ME]CANIQUE / A. COLLAS / [B]REVETE,” which indicates the use of Collas’ patented (Fr. breveté) machine. The portrait in the center most likely represents Collas, but could also possibly be Barbedienne.
This object has the following keywords:
- bronze - Refers to a broad range of alloys of copper, specifically any non-ferrous alloy of copper, tin, and zinc or other trace metals. Bronze was made before 3,000 BCE -- possibly as early as 10,000 BCE, although its common use in tools and decorative items is dated only in later artifacts. The proportions of copper and tin vary widely, from 70 to 95 percent copper in surviving ancient artifacts. Because of the copper base, bronze may be very malleable and easy to work. By the Middle Ages in Europe, it was recognized that using the metals in certain proportions could yield specific properties. Some modern bronzes contain no tin at all, substituting other metals such as aluminum, manganese, and even zinc. Historically, the term was used interchangeably with "latten." U.S. standard bronze is composed of 90% copper, 7% tin and 3% zinc. Ancient bronze alloys sometimes contained up to 14% tin.
- figurines - Three-dimensional works that represent humans, animals, or mythical beasts at less than half life-size. While the term may be used interchangeably with "statuette" in certain situations, it differs in that a statuette is always free-standing while a figurine may be part of a larger work, such as a decorative detail on a candelabra or mirror.
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