Nymph and Satyr Carousing

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Sculpture art during the Baroque period brought us many beautiful pieces as artists began to give their work more ornate and fancier detail. French Sculptor Clodion (Claude Michael) embraced his era’s taste for antiquity and received a number of commissions throughout his career, which spanned the last decades of the ancient régime through the French Revolution and Napoleon's reign (The Metropolitan Museum of Art). While his theme was most often Neoclassical, a name given to pieces of art that were decorative and had distinct movements drawing upon Western classical art and culture as we see most often in Greek and Roman art, he gave each of his sculptures life through detailed facial expression and animation as in Nymph and Satyr Carousing. (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Photograph of Nymph and Satyr Carousing by Clodion.

Nymph and Satyr Carousing was done in the medium terracotta during the late 1700’s, which allows the artist more freedom to create minute details because of the texture of the clay material easier than you can carve into stone. This piece consists of two subjects, one in the form of the Satyr, half goat and half man, and the other, a Nymph, generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually represented as beautiful, young women who love to dance and sing. This sculpture has a colorful blend of raw emotion characteristics evident in each subject’s facial expression and body placement with one another, although they seem to be frozen in time; the scene is taken from a larger sequence of events or narrative storyline (Sayre, 2010). The musculature of the Satyr is very realistic with his legs showing detail of animal hair and hoofs, as well as the defined lines of the male human form in

Figure 2. Photograph of the back of Nymph and Satyr Carousing by Clodion. the top half. (Figure 2). The Nymph is in a playful poise with her weight shifted onto one leg, known as contrapposto, or counter-balance giving the sculpture a...
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