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Marsyas

Balthasar Permoser (German, Kammer, near Otting, Chiemgau, Bavaria 1651–1732 Dresden)

Date:
ca. 1680–85
Culture:
German, executed Rome or Florence
Medium:
Marble on a black marble socle inlaid with light marble panels
Dimensions:
Overall with socle (confirmed): H. 27 x W. 17 3/8 x D. 11 1/8 in. (68.6 x 44.1 x 28.3 cm); Height of socle (confirmed): H. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.468
  • Description

    Flayed alive after losing a musical contest to the god Apollo, the satyr Marsyas screams in the midst of his torture. Every aspect of the figure, from squinting eyes to torn tongue and flamelike hair, contributes to this image of torment. Early in his career, the sculptor Permoser worked in Florence, where this bust likely was carved. It is his personal response to Gianlorenzo Bernini's dramatic style, especially the Damned Soul of about 1619 (Palazzo di Spagna, Rome). While important sculptures by Pietro and Gianlorenzo Bernini are represented in the Museum's collection, Marsyas is our first work by Permoser, who helped to transmit the Italian Baroque style to Germany when he returned to his native Dresden.

  • Provenance

    Conte Francesco Castelbarco-Albani ; [ his sale, Sotheby's, Florence , March 23, 1973, no. 135 ] ; Private Collection, Florence ; [ Alain Moatti (until 2002; sold to MMA) ]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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