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This beautiful group of Silenus with young Bacchus in his arms, is one of the master pieces of antiquity, and not unworthy to be ranked with the Gladiator and the Laocoon. Several ancient copies attest its celebrity in classic times.
In fact, nothing can exceed the talent with which the artist has ennobled the conception of Silenus, without wholly divesting him of his rustic character. He has retained the goat's ears, and the little tail, that recalls the mixed nature ascribed the old Satyr in Asiatic fable; and also his characteristic lasciviousness of expression; but has united them with a form slender, nervous and exquisitely elegant, in which is marked something more than human. Silenus's attitude is new, yet simple and noble; and all the infantine graces play on the features of the young Bacchus.
The two hands and half the lower part of the right arm of Silenus, with the left leg, the whole of the left, and a part of the right arm of the infant, are modern reparations.
This group, which is of grechetto marble, was discovered, in the XVIth century, in the spot formerly occupied by Sallust's gardens, on the Quirinal mount. It has been engraved by A. Randon, Colin, Thomassin, Piranesi, Lignon et Chatillon. Height, 6 feet 1 inch.