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'A Satyr mourning over a Nymph', painted by Piero do Cosimo about 1495, undergoes treatment in the Conservation studio.
In this episode, Larry Keith, Head of Conservation and Keeper, shows how he is retouching 'A Satyr mourning over a nymph' by Piero di Cosimo, which had needed repairing due to a split in the panel. The panel was structurally repaired by Conservator Lynne Harrison, and now retouching is required to fill in the gap left by the split, as well as other areas of painting loss.
About the painting
The painting shows a mortally wounded nymph being mourned by a satyr. It has been suggested that the scene might be an episode from the 'Metamorphoses', an influential poem by the ancient Roman writer Ovid. If this is the case, then the nymph would be Procris, who was accidentally killed by her husband Cephalus.
Piero di Cosimo was a Florentine artist of the Italian Renaissance. He was known for being an idiosyncratic and imaginative painter, and it was written by his biographer Vasari that he loved animals and plants, and had a fear of fire. He specialised in the production of paintings for furniture, known as 'spalliere'. This painting likely served as the backboard of a bench or a chest, or as part of the panelling in a Florentine palace.