William Bouguereau Nymphs and Satyr. Painting
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Nymphs and Satyr.
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Original size: 102 x 70 inches,
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA
Four nymphs tease and play with a satyr by trying to pull him into a lake. One nymph waves behind to three other nymphs in the distance, perhaps beckoning them to come and play with the satyr as well. The satyr half heartedly tries to resist the nymph¡¯s wiles, entranced by their beauty. Nymphs are from Greek mythology. They are considered to be minor female deities, and have a duty to protect different elements of nature such as streams, mountains and meadows (pantheon). The male counterpart for a nymph is a satyr. A satyr is a creature also from Greek mythology having the torso and face of a man, ears and tail of a horse, and feet of a goat. They are known for being lustful and fertile creatures. Bouguereau captures an incredible sense of motion in this piece. One can feel the struggle for the satyr to keep his ground, and the nymphs¡¯ joyous struggle to pull him in. The three dimensional rendering of form and movement is reminiscent of some of Bernini¡¯s most famous works at the Palace Borghesi in Rome, such as Pluto and Prosperpine, and Apollo and Daphne.
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