The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

An Antique Satyr in the Collection of Bertel Thorvaldsen

  • Helle Salskov Roberts,, 2008
  • This is a re-publication of the article:

    Søren Kjørup: ‘An antique Satyr in the collection of Bertel Thorvaldsen’, in: Meddelelser fra Thorvaldsens Museum (Communications from the Thorvaldsens Museum) p. 2008, p. 94-103.

    For a presentation of the article in its original appearance in Danish, please see this facsimile scan.

Summary An antique Satyr in the collection of Bertel Thorvaldsen

The fragment (Thorvaldsens Museum, H 597), shows a bearded, singing satyr playing the lyre and behind him part of a figure of Dionysos. The well-preserved calyx-krater Munich inv. 2384 is shown to be a close parallel, most likely painted by the same artist. The Munich krater depicts Hephaistos riding on a mule, being brought back to Olympos by Dionysos and a satyr. The Munich satyr is named S(i)mos. It is argued that the name DITHYRAMPHOS on the Thorvaldsen fragment refers to the figure of Dionysos, being one of the epithets or titles of the god, e.g. Euripides, Bacchae, v. 526. A short survey of the history of the motif from the early 6th Century BC shows an upsurge of interest around 440 BC culminating in 420 BC. It is suggested that this is connected with the building of the Hephaisteion in Athens and a renewal of the celebrations of the Hephaisteia at the dedication of the temple. Finally, it is suggested that the painter of both the calyx-krater Munich 2384 and the Thorvaldsen fragment should be called the Dithyrambos Painter.

Last updated 11.05.2017