Exhibit kicks off of Nelson-Atkins partnership with Roman museum

A museum in Rome is loaning this sculpture to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art this summer, as part of a cultural exchange between the two museums. Photo credit: Fauno rosso, Roman, 2nd century C.E. Red marble, 66 inches. Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale – Musei Capitolini.

A little piece of Rome is coming to Midtown this summer.

Under a new exchange program, a red marble statue of a drunken satyr will be on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from June 22 through Sept. 29 in Kirkwood Hall.

Here’s more from the museum:

The Fauno rosso, a red marble sculpture of a satyr (also called “faun”), was given to the Capitoline Museums in 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV. It was commissioned by Hadrian, the great emperor of Rome and it was most likely sculpted by Aristeas and Papias of Aphrodisias in modern-day Turkey. The Capitoline is now lending the sculpture to the Nelson-Atkins.

The loan marks the beginning of a long-term relationship between the Nelson-Atkins and the Capitoline Museums, a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy.

The Fauno rosso raises a cluster of grapes in his right hand; he holds in his left a cudgel used by shepherds. A fawn skin tied at his right shoulder covers part of his chest and supports two pomegranates and a bunch of grapes. To his left a goat looks up at him and rests one leg on a wicker basket. To the satyr’s right is a supporting tree stump with shepherd’s pipes hanging from it.

The Fauno rosso seems to have stopped midway in his stride as he excitedly turns his head up to the raised bunch of grapes. His mouth is slightly opened in delight and his hair is unkempt, a reflection of his wild nature. His left leg is extended and the foot turns to his left; his straight right leg supports most of his weight and so his right hip juts out suggestively.

Fauno rosso is sculpted out of red marble rather than the commonly used white marble. This suggests that the satyr has drunk so much wine that he is as red as the grapes he has consumed.

“We are delighted to have this arresting masterpiece as it crosses the Atlantic for the first time,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO and Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “The grandeur and the majesty of Kirkwood Hall is the perfect backdrop to appreciate and enjoy this work.  It is an appropriate space that will transport us to the city of Rome, with whom we are launching this partnership and the start of a great relationship.”

The Fauno rosso loan is part of a broad program of exchanges and cultural events between Rome and the United States that was launched in Washington, D.C. in 2011 called The Dream of Rome. The program finds nowadays new support in Enel Green Power, the Italian company devoted to worldwide development of energy generation from renewables, which entered in a partnership with the Capitoline Museums, along with the Knights of Columbus. Through The Dream of Rome, some of Rome’s magnificent masterpieces will be on display in prestigious museums in the U.S. in cities such as Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.


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