This superb marble sculpture is by the Dutch artist Paul Brou. The subject of the piece is a carousing Bacchanalia of young satyrs and other Bacchic revellers. The centrepiece of the composition is Silenus, the companion of and tutor to Bacchus, the god of wine. Silenus, here shown as not much more than a toddler, sleeps in a drunken stupor atop a donkey, an empty wine cup in his hand. Silenus is surrounded by his entourage: yet more toddlers, both human and satyric, drink in great merriment, raising cups of wine and bunches of grapes into the air. Some revellers drink from a fountain, others play panpipes and clash cymbals, while another offers a cheers to a large cat. The scene is wonderful in its playfulness and its utter frivolous chaos.
The piece, however, is a serious work of sculpture, and the quality of the carving throughout is supreme. The most delicate of details, whether individual grapes or locks of hair, are carefully rendered. Moreover, the composition is expertly arranged, with various groups of figures interacting in myriad ways.
The piece is raised on a plinth, which is signed to the front ‘PAUL BROU’.