Figure of Silvanus; Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D.

Auction Lot 35297579
Figure of Silvanus; Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D.
Provenance: private collection, Los Angeles, USA, mid-1990s at Quatrain Inc; private collection, London, acquired in New York, 2015; private collection, Madrid.
In good state of preservation. It has lost half a head, the lower part of the legs and the cypress trunk held in the right hand.
Measurements: 46 cm.

Estimated Value : 28,000 - 30,000 €
End of Auction: 28 May 2024 17:16
Remaining time: 8 days 19:37:41
Processing lot please standby
Next bid: 20000



Figure of Silvanus; Roman Empire, 2nd century AD.
Provenance: private collection, Los Angeles, USA, mid-1990s at Quatrain Inc; private collection, London, acquired in New York, 2015; private collection, Madrid.
In good state of preservation. It has lost half of its head, the lower part of its legs and the cypress trunk that it held in its right hand.
Measurements: 46 cm.
Roman sculpture in marble representing Silvanus, a tutelary spirit of the fields and forests. In relation to the forests, he presided especially over the plantations and enjoyed the trees that grew wild, which is why he is represented (as on this occasion) carrying the trunk of a cypress tree. Regarding this tree, however, the following story is told: Silvanus was in love with the young Cipariso. Fortunately, he once accidentally killed a doe that belonged to him. Cipariso died of grief and was transformed into a cypress tree.
The Romans brought two important innovations to the world of sculpture: portraiture and historical relief, neither of which existed in the Greek world. However, they followed Greek models for much of their sculptural production, a base which in Rome was combined with the Etruscan tradition. After the first contacts with Classical Greece through the Magna Graecia colonies, the Romans conquered Syracuse in 212 BC, a rich and important Greek colony in Sicily, which was adorned with a large number of Hellenistic works. The city was sacked and its artistic treasures taken to Rome, where the new style of these works soon replaced the Etruscan-Roman tradition that had prevailed until then. Shortly afterwards, in 133 BC, the Empire inherited the kingdom of Pergamon, where there was an original and thriving school of Hellenistic sculpture. The huge Pergamon Altar, the "Gallus committing suicide" or the dramatic group "Laocoön and his sons" were three of the key creations of this Hellenistic school. On the other hand, after Greece was conquered in 146 BC, most Greek artists settled in Rome, and many of them devoted themselves to making copies of Greek sculptures, which were very fashionable at the time in the capital of the Empire. Thus, numerous copies of Praxiteles, Lysippus and classical works of the 5th century BC were produced, giving rise to the Neo-Attic school of Rome, the first neoclassical movement in the history of art. However, between the end of the 2nd century BC and the beginning of the 1st century BC there was a change in this purist Greek trend, which culminated in the creation of a national school of sculpture in Rome, which produced works such as the Altar of Aenobarbus, which introduced a typically Roman narrative concept that became a chronicle of everyday life and, at the same time, of the success of its political model. This school would be the forerunner of the great imperial art of Augustus, during whose reign Rome became the most influential city in the Empire and also the new centre of Hellenistic culture, as Pergamon and Alexandria had been before it, attracting a large number of Greek artists and craftsmen. In the Augustan era Rome contributed to the continuity and renewal of a tradition which had already enjoyed centuries of prestige and which had dictated the character of all art in the area. In this new phase, Greek aesthetics and technique were applied to the themes of this new Rome. After the idealisation of the Augustan period, the realism of the Flavian era and the subsequent Baroque style of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Roman sculpture, marked by the presence of Christianity, tended to dehumanise, becoming more ideal and symbolic. The concern for realism was lost, and there was a tendency towards a schematisation that sought to capture the ideal, the soul or the divinity, rather than the human aspect of the figures. The carving, in keeping with this new aesthetic, acquired a great hardness, and the figures acquired a more realistic and symbolic quality.


Procedencia: colección particular, Los Ángeles, EEUU, mediados de la década de 1990 en Quatrain Inc; Colección particular, Londres, adquirido en Nueva York, 2015; Colección particular, Madrid. En buen estado de conservación. Ha perdido media cabeza, la parte inferior de las piernas y el tronco de ciprés que sujetaba con la mano derecha.
This lot can be seen at the Setdart Barcelona Gallery located at C/Aragón, 346.


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