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Reclining Pan

attributed to Francesco da Sangallo, Italian, 1494–1576
Made in
Rome, Lazio, Italy, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 236
25 x 52 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (63.5 x 134 x 59.1 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
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Object Number
In this sculpture the satyr Pan reclines on a rocky base amid grape clusters and vines. His left hand clutches a goatskin called a nebris that he wears around his neck. Such details, together with the small salamander carved amid the rocks, evoke a rustic scene befitting Pan, the half goat-half human god of the woods, fields, and flocks known for his lecherous pursuits. The reed pipe, or syrinx, in Pan's right hand is an allusion to the maiden Syrinx, who was changed into a patch of reeds to escape the satyr's advances. Francesco da Sangallo carved this sculpture from a recycled piece of ancient marble and it once served as a fountain; its water spout is still visible at the mouth of the sack above his right arm.
by 1626 - 1947
Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679), Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy; Barberini family, by inheritance [1]

Adolph Loewi, Los Angeles, California, USA

1947 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Adolph Loewi [2]

[1] Several sources indicate that sculpture was in collection of the Barberini family in the early seventeenth century. For instance, the object was presumably in the Barberini collection by 1626 when the Dutch artist Cornelius Poelenburch (1594/95-1667, who is also referred to as Polemburg or Poelenburgh), drew the sculpture during his sojourn to Italy from 1617 to approximately 1626. Even though the drawing is now lost, a 1669 publication illustrates a print of the "Reclining Pan" by Jan de Bisschop based upon Poelenburch's composition. The dates of the Poelenburch's stay indicate that the sculpture was most likely in the collection of the Barberini family by his departure in 1626 [Van Gelder, Jan G., and Ingrid Jost, "Jan de Bisschop and his Icones & Paradigmata: Classical Antiquities and Italian Drawings for Artistic Instruction in Seventeenth Century Holland." Doornspijk: Davaco, 1985, cat. nos. 57-58, pgs. 142-143].

In addition, according to the inventory of Cardinal Francesco Barberini compiled by Nicolo Menghini from 1632-40, the sculpture is listed as being in the Barberini collection at this time: "81) Un satiro del Natural quale serve per una fontana et tience un braccio in testa et dalla banda destra tiene un otro n.o." [Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg. "Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art." New York: New York University Press, 1975, p. 133, no. 81]. Lavin notes that the inventory numbers, 71-191, refer to sculptures that had entered the collection before this inventory was begun.

Ettore Sestieri wrote in 1948 that the presence of the work in the collection dated to the first part of the seventeenth century when Pope Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644), began to assemble his collection. Indeed, the work may have been in the collection as early as 1600 when Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) sketched the "Reclining Pan" during his first trip to Italy. An entry in the Farington Diary records that Benjamin West (1738-1820) also saw the sculpture when he visited the Barberini collection in 1795 [letter from Ettore Sestieri dated May 28, 1948; Grieg, James, ed. "Farington Diary." Vol. 1. December 19, 1795, p. 125; SLAM document files].

In 1937, Prince Urban Barberini began negotiating with Mussolini to obtain special permission to export objects from the Barberini collection, including "Reclining Pan." In November 1947, the sculpture was finally allowed to leave Italy and enter the United States, where it was accessioned by the Museum the following month [letter dated January 19, 1948 from Adolph Loewi; Museum press release dated February 4, 1948; SLAM document files].

[2] Bill of sale dated January 5, 1947 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, December 4, 1947.
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