Two Satyrs by Peter Paul Rubens 🎨
The Satyrs were a race of woodland spirits, who evidently personified the free, wild, and untrammelled life of the forest. Their appearance was both grotesque and repulsive; they had flat broad noses, pointed ears, and little horns sprouting from their foreheads, a rough shaggy skin, and small goat's tails.
They led a life of pleasure and self-indulgence, followed the chase, revelled in every description of wild music and dancing, were terrible wine-bibbers, and addicted to the deep slumbers which follow heavy potations. They were no less dreaded by mortals than by the gentle woodland nymphs, who always avoided their coarse rough sports.
The Satyrs were conspicuous figures in the train of Dionysus, and, as we have seen, Silenus their chief was tutor to the wine god. The older Satyrs were called Silens, and are represented in antique sculpture, as more nearly approaching the human form. In addition to the ordinary Satyrs, artists delighted in depicting little Satyrs, young imps, frolicking about the woods in a marvellous variety of droll attitudes. These little fellows greatly resemble their friends and companions, the Panisci.
In rural districts it was customary for the shepherds and peasants who attended the festivals of Dionysus, to dress themselves in the skins of goats and other animals, and, under this disguise, they permitted themselves all kinds of playful tricks and excesses, to which circumstance the conception of the Satyrs is by some authorities attributed.
Zhang's Saluting Ceremony (2016)
Relying on memory to recreate a highly personal version of his country’s history, Zhang Xiaogang makes art that is as much about himself as it is about China’s past. The grim imaginary families in his “Bloodlines: The Big Family” paintings of the 1990s and his 2005–06 series of grisaille portraits in oil reveal countless narratives about the aspirations and failures of the Cultural Revolution as well as Zhang’s own emotions. Like the blank visages of the individuals in these paintings, Zhang’s brass and concrete sculptures of figures, as well as implements used for recording history (such as fountain pens, notebooks, and light bulbs, all 2009), appear compressed and distorted by memory, age, and some unknown force.