Pan at right, grabbing Syrinx around the waist, who has her PR arm up and her PL arm across her chest, pulling away; three other figures seated in LLQ; medium brown wash through much of image

Pan and Syrinx, c. 1760

Not on Viewexpand_more

This commotion of dark splotches of wash and scribbled lines is an exquisite study of light and shadow. Fleeing the lusty satyr Pan, the nymph Syrinx was trapped at a river’s edge and begged her father, the river-god Ladon, and her two sisters (shown in the foreground) to rescue her. Just as Pan grasped her, she was transformed into reeds, leaving him with only the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds, which inspired him to make his pipes. Here, Syrinx’s transformation has begun, described in fluid pen strokes that elongate her hands and rise around her head.

The fiery, rapid handling and uninhibited messiness suggest this drawing was a personal exercise in creative exploration. Although the name Trevisani is inscribed on the sheet by a later hand, the work is more likely by the 18th-century Mantuan artist Giuseppe Bazzani. An idiosyncratic designer, Bazzani favored dreamlike settings with gracefully posed figures arranged bizarrely in the composition and often partially obscured by mounds of earth or a vaporous atmosphere.

Details
Title
Pan and Syrinx
Artist Life
Italy, 1656 - 1746
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2012.58.145
Provenance
Eugène Rodrigues, Lugt 897 (1853-1928), Paris.* [Richard Day, London, by 1993-1994; acquired in Chartres, France, sold, April 18, to Moir]; Alfred Moir, Santa Barbara (1994-d. 2010; bequeathed to MIA) The drawing was not found in any of the Rodrigues sales (1909, 1917, 1928, 1929)
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Pan at right, grabbing Syrinx around the waist, who has her PR arm up and her PL arm across her chest, pulling away; three other figures seated in LLQ; medium brown wash through much of image