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Annibale Carracci, Young Satyr gathering Grapes

Key facts
Full title Young Satyr gathering Grapes
Artist Annibale Carracci
Artist dates 1560 - 1609
Series Panels for a Musical Instrument
Date made 1597-1600
Medium and support Oil and egg on wood
Dimensions 54.5 × 88.5 cm
Acquisition credit Holwell Carr Bequest, 1831
Inventory number NG93.2
Location Room 37
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Young Satyr gathering Grapes
Annibale Carracci

A naked young satyr, just like a little boy but with pointed ears and a curly tail, swings from a vine to pick grapes. This irregularly shaped panel was part of a musical instrument, probably a kind of harpsichord. Together with Silenus gathering Grapes it would have formed the inside of the lid, visible when the instrument was open, with this boy facing his ‘twin’ swinging on the vines in the larger panel. It was painted by Annibale Carracci, possibly for Fulvio Orsini, the classical scholar and librarian to the Farnese family.

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Panels for a Musical Instrument


These three panels were originally part of an early keyboard instrument, or possibly a pair of instruments, and show scenes of music-making and drinking. Silenus gathering Grapes and Young Satyr gathering Grapes are probably from the inside of the lid, and would only have been seen when the instrument was open. Marsyas and Olympus may have also belonged to the lid of the keyboard or to some part of the instrument’s case.

They were painted by Annibale Carracci in the late 1590s, perhaps for Fulvio Orsini, classical scholar and librarian/curator to the powerful Farnese family in Rome. The designs for some of the figures are based on classical objects owned by the Farnese.