Monday, June 24, 2013


HE is an unkempt creature of the wild, with shaggy hair and goat-like characteristics –pointed ears, a short tail and dewlaps – and he is delighted to raise high a cluster of freshly picked grapes.

The Fauno rosso, a magnificent Roman statue commissioned by Hadrian for his villa at Tivoli, is currently on view at the NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART in Kansas City.

Through September 30, visitors to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art can view the sculpture in Kirkwood Hall, which has been transformed into a classic Roman palazzo.

The loan is part of a program of exchanges and cultural events that was launched in 2011 called "The Dream of Rome," a collaboration between the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Enel Green Power and the Knights of Columbus.

Through "The Dream of Rome," some of Rome's masterpieces will be on display in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Kansas City.

The great Emperor of Rome Hadrian commissioned the Fauno rosso, and it was most likely sculpted by Aristeas and Papias of Aphrodisias in modern-day Turkey. Pope Benedict XIV Lambertini gave the sculpture to the Capitoline Museum in 1746, and the Capitoline is now lending the sculpture to the Nelson-Atkins.

The Fauno rosso depicts a satyr, follower of Dionysus, the god of wine. The entire sculpture is of red marble, rather than the commonly used white marble, and seems to suggest that the subject is so drunk that his skin has turned into the color of the grapes.

To his left is a goat that looks up at him and rests one leg on a wicker basket.

The Fauno rosso's eyes would have been of glass or brilliant stone (the sockets have been hollowed out to receive them) and would have been sparkling with life and energy.

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