Barberinischer Faun

Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek


A young man lies completely exposed on a leopard skin that is partially covering a rock. His right arm is raised above his head, indicating that he is asleep. The wreath of ivy in his hair and the small horse’s tail on his rear, which we only discover when we walk around the sculpture, reveal him to be a satyr (faun) and therefore a follower of Dionysus, the god of wine.

Found at the foot of Castel Sant’Angelo sometime between 1624 and 1628, the statue was an immediate sensation. The Greek original had been brought to Rome from Greece in antiquity. Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) declared the "Fauno di Barberini", as it was known before 1789, to be the inalienable property of the Papacy. It was only after long negotiations that began in 1810 that Martin von Wagner was able to acquire the statue for Crown Prince Ludwig (1786-1868, reigned as King Ludwig I of Bavaria from 1825). It arrived in Munich on 6 January 1820 and has been on display in the Glyptothek museum since it opened in 1830.

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