Andrea Briosco, called Riccio (Italian, 14701532)
Made in Padua, Italy
Bronze; H. 14 1/8 in. (35.9 cm)
Purchase, Gifts of Irwin Untermyer, Ogden Mills and George Blumenthal, Bequest of Julia H. Manges and Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, by exchange; and Rogers and Pfeiffer Funds, 1982 (1982.45)
This striding satyr, with its curvilinear contours and masterly control of chasing, was executed about 1507, at the height of Riccio's powers. He had probably just completed his pair of Old Testament bronze reliefs for the Church of Sant'Antonio in Padua and had embarked on the model for what was to be his greatest work, the bronze paschal candlestick in the same church. The elaborate decorations on the candlestick include satyrs among the many nearly freestanding statuettes. The highly activated surfaces of the bronzes for which he was famed reflect Riccio's training as a goldsmith. His poignant renderings of satyrs, half-human and half-animal, were especially popular among the humanist collectors of the early Renaissance, who may have seen them as emblematic of the Neoplatonic notion of the spirit trapped in flesh.