Venuses, nymphs and satyrs
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In Western art, Venuses, nymphs and satyrs are the stock characters of erotic painting and nude painting up until the advent of modern art. The myth of Jupiter and Antiope often has the same imagery as nymph and satyr, since in that myth, Jupiter disguised himself as a satyr.
Venus is the Roman goddess of love and in visual art terminology a synonym for any female nude. She was a major Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths.
In classical art she is exemplified by the Praxitlean type Aphrodite of Cnidus. Many female nudes from this period of sculpture whose subjects are unknown are in modern art history conventionally called 'Venus'es, even if they originally may have portrayed a mortal woman rather than operated as a cult statue of the goddess. The most famous example is the Venus de Milo (130 BCE)
In Greek mythology, satyrs (in Ancient Greek: Σάτυροι — Sátyroi) are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus that roamed the woods and mountains. In mythology they are often associated with male sex drive and many artists have portrayed them with erections. Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through later conflation with the Roman Faunus, a carefree nature spirit of similar temperament. Satyrs are described as roguish but faint-hearted folk — subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, women and boys, and are ready for every physical pleasure. They love to dance with the nymphs with whom they are obsessed and whom they often pursue.
Jupiter and Antiope
In Greek mythology, Antiope was the name of the daughter of the river god Asopus. Her beauty attracted Zeus, who, assuming the form of a satyr, took her by force. In postclassical art, the story is depicted in paintings and prints as a scene of voyeurism.
Works of art
- Satyr and Nymph (Pompeii mosaic)
- Satyr mourning over a nymph (c. 1495) by Piero di Cosimo
- Satyr flogging a Nymph by Agostino Carracci
- Venus (or a Nymph) Spied On by Satyrs by Nicolas Poussin
- Venus and Cupid with a Satyr by Antonio da Correggio
- Nymphs and Satyr by artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau
- Nymph and Satyr (Cabanel) (Nymphe et Satyr, 1860) by Cabanel
- Satyr Raping a Nymph (Pergamene marble)
- Nymph and Satyr, sculpture by by Théodore Géricault
- Pan Pursuing Syrinx by Clodion