A Satyr mourning over a Nymph

A nymph lies on the grass, displaying wounds to her hand, wrist and throat. A satyr kneels, apparently mourning over her, while a dog sits at her feet. In the background other creatures, including a pelican, are depicted. The subject may be linked to the death of Procris: in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' (VII, 752-65), Procris is described as being killed in error by her husband, Cephalus, to whom she had given a magical dog and a spear. Ovid does not mention a satyr, however, though one appears in a play of this subject by Niccolò da Correggio of 1486.

On the reverse of the panel is a drawing which may be the frame of a pilaster. The painting probably served as a spalliera (a backboard for a bench or chest), or as part of the panelling in a Florentine palace. Underdrawing is visible, notably on the bodies of the figures. The artist's fingerprints appear extensively in the sky.

Key facts

Artist dates
1462 - 1522
Full title
A Satyr mourning over a Nymph
Date made
about 1495
Medium and support
Oil on poplar
65.4 x 184.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1862
Inventory number
Location in Gallery