Nicolaus Chapron

Silenus and Satyr

Silenus and Satyr by Nicolaus Chapron

Artwork Detail

Chapron frequently engraved light-hearted mythological scenes and this print is a comical depiction of Silenus, the companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus. Chapron depicts him slumped against a tree, holding a bunch of grapes. He is served wine from a vessel by a figure whose horns suggest that he is Pan, the patron of shepherds. They are surrounded by two putti and an empty urn lies on the ground beside them. The print follows the tradition of a Papposilenus, a stock comedic characterisation of Silenus that emphasised his drunken state for plays and comedies. Statuettes of Papposilenus often emphasise his pot belly and his drunken state. In this print he is slumped against a tree, unable to move. His downturned head and heavy eyes show his inebriated state yet despite this he is leaning towards the vessel to drink more. The discarded urn on the floor indicates that he has already consumed a vast amount of alcohol. Drunken Silenus was a popular subject in 17th-century art and was depicted by Ribera, Van Dyck and Rubens.

Silenus and Satyr
Nicolaus Chapron
Production date
226 x 162 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Ann Andrews and Robert Newton, 2017
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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