Modeled with the life-like exuberance and richness of textural detail defining American Beaux-Arts sculpture, Young Faun with Heron is a reduction after a larger bronze commission conceived to adorn the grounds of Naumkeag, the home of Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph H. Choate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The life-size bronze was planned for an exterior niche of the rambling Shingle style residence. The Museum’s reduced version was modeled and cast in Paris, and is the first proof in the edition of statuettes. MacMonnies drew on themes from antiquity for his inspiration: the pagan motif of a child playfully wrestling with a bird recurs from the classical era through the Italian Renaissance. In a lively scene of animated exuberance, MacMonnies depicts a taunting faun (identifiable only by its wreath of leaves) grasping a heron’s neck in his left hand, restraining one of its legs with his right. The boy’s lithe form curves and twists from head to toe, producing a visual dynamism. The heron expresses its displeasure by clenching its talons, twisting its head, and opening its long beak, as though emitting a protesting cry.