A mythical half-beast, half-man who frolics in the woods. As a lustful creature who pursues nymphs and enjoys drinking, the satyr represents the bestial aspects of human nature. Satyrs had been part of the repertoire of mythic creatures in art since antiquity. In the Renaissance, these creatures were once again depicted, often in the company of Bacchus, god of wine, as Annibale Carracci's Triumph of Bacchus on the Farnese ceiling (c. 1597-1600; Rome, Palazzo Farnese) exemplifies. In the North, though satyrs were also rendered frolicking and imbibing, more often than not they were placed within the family context, with equally half-beast, half-human wife and off-spring, as demonstrated by Albrecht Altdorfer's Satyr Family (1507; Berlin, Staatliche Museen) and Jacob Jordaens' Satyr and Peasants (c. 1620; Munich, Alte Pinakothek). Artemisia Gentileschi offered a unique depiction of the creature in her Corsica and the Satyr (1640s; private collection). Tired of being pursued, the astute nymph donned a hairpiece that came off as the satyr tried to grab it, allowing her to get away.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • satyr — satyr; satyr·ine; satyr·ism; satyr·id; …   English syllables

  • Satyr — Sa tyr (?; 277), n. [L. satyrus, Gr. ?: cf. F. satyre.] 1. (Class. Myth.) A sylvan deity or demigod, represented as part man and part goat, and characterized by riotous merriment and lasciviousness. [1913 Webster] Rough Satyrs danced; and Fauns,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • satyr — ► NOUN 1) Greek Mythology one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods, represented as a man with a horse s ears and tail or (in Roman representations) with a goat s ears, tail, legs, and horns. 2) a man with strong sexual desires.… …   English terms dictionary

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