Oggetti rari e preziosi al MANN
Photographs by Luigi Spina
Texts by Valeria Sampaolo
The drunken satyr is one of the jewels in the collections of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The charm of this small bronze found in the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum lies not in its being a unique piece, like other works that adorned this opulent residence, but a copy of a motif popular since the second century BC and a favourite subject for decorating gardens and peristyles.
In this work, an adult satyr lies on his back over a rock covered by the pelt of a lion and leans on the wineskin from which he has drunk deeply of Dionysus’s liquor, to the extent that he is now completely under its influence, as his typical drunken grimace suggests.
The commentary by Valeria Sampaolo and Luigi Spina’s photographs draw attention to the history and details that make this sculpture a true masterpiece.
Valeria Sampaolo has been conservator of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The author of several publications, she focuses on research of early excavations in the Vesuvius area and on establishing the provenance of the Museum’s frescoes, whose new display arrangement she curated.
Luigi Spina is a photographer. His work depicts amphitheatres and the civic dimension of the sacred and explores the links between art and faith, the search for ancient cultural roots, and the physical impact of classical sculpture. His published works include L’Ora incerta (2014), The Buchner Boxes (2014), Hemba (2017), and Mythical Diary (2017). Spina has collaborated with Valeria Sampaolo and 5 Continents Editions to create the series Oggetti rari e preziosi al Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, whose titles to date are Memorie del Vaso blu (2016), Amazzonomachia (2017), Centauri (2017), Sette sapienti (2018), and Zefiro e Clori (2018), as well as the Hidden Treasures series, which now includes The Farnese Cup. He has also published The Dancers at the Villa of the Papyri for 5 Continents Editions’ Tailormade series.