The myth of Apollo and Marsyas. Artistic representations and anatomical studies.

M A Bettencourt Pires, M Esperança Pina, J A Esperança Pina

Abstract


The authors analyze an interesting sculpture found in the gardens of a 17th Century palace in Lisbon, representing the myth of Apollo and Marsyas, which led them to compare the details of the sculpture of the flayed satyr with the previous anatomic studies by Leonardo da Vinci (cc.1510-1530) or Vesalius (cc.1543). The photographic material obtained from the 17th century Italian sculpture presents amazing similitude with these, earlier, 16th century anatomical studies. As a complement to this study, the authors compare the sculptures with the artistic evidences, found throughout the world, of the 17th century interest for the representation of the myth of Apollo and Marsyas, which could be considered as a meaningful artistic movement of the Renaissance and neo-classic art. Some of the artistic representations of surface anatomy depict other motives, as is the case of the self-portrait of Michelangelo, painted in the Sistine Chapel, in honour of St. Bartholomew.

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