PERIOD: 2nd Century AD
SIZE: Height 12 cm
PRICE: 5,700 €
PROVENANCE: Private collection of R.M. in Munich, acquired in 1986.
CONDITION: In good condition. The right foot is missing.
A satyr with exaggerated features. He is shown with his legs wide apart and his arms away from the body. The left is raised and the right is stretched down and backwards forming the two together a diagonal line of visual composition. The face is of note, with a frowning forehead and an unattractive aspect. He is wearing what appear to be torn skins attached over the right shoulder and crossing over the chest. The lower part of his body is uncovered.
Satyrs were male creatures in Greek mythology who accompanied Pan and Dionysus, roaming around the woods and mountains. They are associated with sexual appetite. The painters of ceramic vases often depicted them alongside nymphs and maenads, sometimes with perpetual erections.
The lararium was a small shrine in Roman houses in which the family members could place offerings on an altar and offer up prayers to the household gods. These were represented by statuettes called lares, mostly made of bronze. In patrician residences the lararium was in general found in the atrium, the central hall of the residence. In a simpler residence without an atrium, the shrine would be more or less in the kitchen near the central fire.
The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.