Barberinischer Faun

Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek


Abducted from Greece in Roman times, the sculpture was brought to Italy, where it was rediscovered in Rome in 1624. King Ludwig I (1825-1848) managed to acquire it from the Barberini Collection for the Glyptothek (glyptotheque, sculpture collection).

The sculpture shows a young man stretched out on a rock in a lascivious posture. He seems to be asleep. On closer inspection, however, one can see that his face is also marked by tension. The ivy wreath in his hair tells us the reason, because especially revellers wore such wreaths: drunk with wine and tired from dancing, the young man fell into a restless half-sleep.

The full meaning of the figure can only be grasped by walking around the statue. The small ponytail, which becomes visible in the rear view, characterises the young man as a Satyr, one of the semi-beastly creatures from the retinue of Dionysus, the god of frenzy. This characterises the figure as a mythical being. Drunkenness, debauchery and sexual drive belong to the essence of the Satyrs. They show the power of Dionysus, in whose honour the statue was probably placed in a sanctuary.