"SATYR & MAENAD"
Satyr and Maenad is a carved Seal
with the head of a Satyr
carved in the full round
and a dancing Maenad, holding a thyrsus,
carved as an Intaglio on the bottom surface.
This is the first work in Helen?s theme series
?Satyrs & Gargoyles?, which includes several pieces.
Helen often uses themes with mythological creatures,
especially from the ancient Greek mythology
that is deep in her soul,
as they allow for dynamic expressionism,
infinite variations, and exaggerated features.
The word Satyr comes from the Greek Satyros,
and it denoted a sylvan god,
belonging to a wood or forest [from silva=wood].
In classic Greek mythology Satyrs
were sylvan gods, the male followers of Dionysus,
the god of wine.
Bacchus in Latin, or Backhos in Greek
was another name of Dionysus, son of Zeus (Jupiter)
and Semele. He is said first to have taught the cultivation of the grape,
and the preparation of wine.
Satyrs were immortal creatures and
they are represented as part man and part goat,
usually having short, sprouting horns on their heads.
The female followers, both in myth and reality,
were called Maenads, from ?mad women?,
or later in the Roman mythology Bacchants, ?women of Bacchus.
Maenads were dressed in faun skin and wore garlands of ivy.
Each carried a thyrsus, a staff with a pine cone-like
decoration on the end, and gathered in a ritual group
to go to the mountains,
where they would sing and dance
to exhaustion (as the Maenad does on this Seal)
in celebration of the god.
Photo by M.J. Colella
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Page last updated 08/12/06.
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