The Digital Sculpture Project

Catalogue Entry: Pan-Nymph Group

Name: Pan-Nymph Group

Collection: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Inventory Number: H4 61/34

Date Created: Created from ancient individual elements integrated and supplemented in the late 17c or early 18c.

Date Acquired: Purchased in Rome in 1728 from the collection of Fabrizio Naro.

Sculptor: unknown

Material & Dimensions: In 1894 the baroque additions in marble were removed and the group was decomposed into the following ancient elements:

  1. Lower body of Pan sitting on a cliff came from the group of "Pan and Daphnis" (inv. Hm. 171). Marble. Height 83 cm; width 78.5 cm. Roman copy of ca. 130–150 CE based on a Hellenistic model dating to ca. 100 BCE.

  2. Female upper body from the group, "Invitation to the Dance" (inv. Hm. 184). Marble. Height 41.8 cm. Roman copy after a Hellenistic model dating to ca. 150 BCE.

  3. Upper body of a satyr from the group, "Invitation to the Dance" (inv. Hm 264). Marble. Height of the preserved part (without pins) 46 cm; width 24 cm (measured from the armpits). Roman copy after a Hellenistic model dating to ca. 150 BCE.

  4. Lower body of a sitting woman (inv. Hm 170). Marble. Height 48.5 cm. Width in the hip area 39 cm; depth 51.5 cm. Third quarter of the Ic BCE.

In 2009, the group was reassembled using the ancient elements and the baroque supplements. In the process, three fragments which were originally considered baroque were discovered to be ancient, viz.:

  1. Left arm of Pan with a strand of hair (fragment 19). Marble. Length (from the sleeve head to the elbow) 30 cm. Length of the lower arm (external side of the index finger to the elbow) 34 cm.

  2. Right lower arm of Pan with grapes (fragment 21). Marble. Length 34 cm; width (back of the hand) 8.7 cm. Roman. First half of the IIc CE.

  3. Relief fragment with tendrils, used and reworked in the baroque period (fragment 10). Marble. Height 19 cm (with leaves); length 65.5 cm; width 27.2 cm. Roman.

Height of the whole group: 161 cm. Height up to Pan's head: 136 cm; width 93 cm; depth 66 cm. Size of plinth: 64 x 59 cm.

Description: Goat-legged Pan sits on a cliff with his left leg crossed over his right and turns to a nymph sitting next to him, whom he playfully harasses. He tempts her with with a bunch of grapes in his upraised right hand and with his left hand he grabs her hair in order to pull her to himself. The nymph, with syrinx and tambourine in her hands and laughing saucily, escapes Pan's annoying behavior by attempting to turn away with a slight rotation of her upper body.

The group was forcibly pieced together in Rome (presumably in the early 18c) from a rich deposit of individual ancient elements. Missing pieces were made and added as needed when the recomposition was in progress. These additions include the head and neck of Pan and the nymph, the arms of the nymph and her knees, the right upper arm of Pan, his left knee and his lower legs as well as the base. For the latter an ancient relief was used. In this way a new ancient-baroque hybrid was created. That the result was of dubious value was something noted in the Dresden museum catalogues as early as the beginning of the 19c. In 1894 the group was disassembled, which proved that the work consisted of parts of wholly unrelated ancient statues, including two famous late-Hellenistic statue groups: the so-called "Invitation to the Dance" and the "Pan and Daphnis."

Granting that the disassembling of this curious construction was justified with regard to recuperation of the ancient originals, nevertheless in doing so we lost an attractive and interesting document of the baroque understanding of antiquity and its practice of restoration. Through a restoration recently started in 2009, the group could regain its baroque design.

A virtual model of the group makes it possible for the museum visitor to gain an overview of the ancient and baroque elements of the group and to understand how both the baroque and modern restorations were carried out. Moreover it is also possible for the visitor to grasp the relationship of the ancient fragments of the Roman copies to their Hellenistic models.

Pan-Nymph Model Main Page

Copyright © 2009-11. Last updated: October 1, 2011.

The Digital Sculpture Project is an activity of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory.