Youth Playing a Pipe for a Satyr

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Il Grechetto) Italian

Not on view

The artist ventured here with spellbinding bravura into the bucolic world of satyrs and nymphs, attaining the effect of a deliberately unfinished easel painting. The satyr has finished playing his shepherd's pipe and sprawls out with hedonistic abandon as he listens to the beautiful youth take his turn on a pipe. The satyr may represent Pan or Marsyas, while the youth may be Apollo, Olympos, or Daphnis. None of the Classical myths provides an entirely consistent fit with the composition, but it evokes a gentle, idyllic contest. It may allude to the contrast between the passionate spirit of the Dionysian (as represented by the satyr) and the beauty and clarity of reason of the Apollonian (the youth), which, according to Renaissance and Baroque humanists, were the two opposing impulses of artistic creativity.

Youth Playing a Pipe for a Satyr, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Il Grechetto) (Italian, Genoa 1609–1664 Mantua), Brush with colored oil paint; paper partly saturated with oil; lined

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.