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