Statuette of a Satyr (3/4 left front)


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A kneeling satyr raises a keras, or drinking horn, to his lips in this solid bronze statuette. The figure’s pose is complex. His weight rests on his right knee and he balances himself with his bent left leg, which terminates in an equine hoof. His head is thrown back as he raises the large drinking horn to his lips with his upraised right hand. His left hand rests in the small of his back. The drinking horn was made separately and attached with a pin that runs through it, forming the satyr's thumb and tongue on either end. The complex pose of the figure, with his head thrown back and limbs extending in all directions dates the piece to the early Classical period. At this time, artists were breaking away from the rigid confines of earlier styles to make their figures more complicated and three-dimensional.

While mostly human in appearance, the satyr's bestial nature is revealed by his pointed ears, snub nose, hooves, and his tail, now missing on this statuette. Also characteristically satyr-like is his visibly erect phallus. Part-human, part-animal companions of the wine-god Dionysos, satyrs were known for their lustful and drunken behavior. The keras from which this satyr drinks was used for imbibing unmixed or undiluted wine, an uncivilized act that led quickly to drunkenness. Appropriate to the subject, this small statuette may have decorated a large metal vessel used to mix and serve wine. A lumpy area below his left hoof may be the remains of an attachment pin. Alternatively, the statuette may have been given as a gift to the god at a sanctuary of Dionysos.


  • Title: Statuette of a Satyr (3/4 left front)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 480–460 B.C.
  • Location Created: Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 9.8 × 4.1 × 5.4 cm (3 7/8 × 1 5/8 × 2 1/8 in.)
  • Type: Mythological figure
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 88.AB.72
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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