Flemish, second half of the 17th century

Silenus with the Vat of Wine

This small yet finely carved ivory relief, most probably Flemish in origin due to its stylistic characteristics, was based on an etching depicting Silenus at the Vat of Wine by the Spanish Baroque artist Jusepe de Ribera (1628). His earthy depiction of Dionysos’s fleshy, frequently inebriated follower closely resembles the scene within the grape-arbored roundel of Annibale Carracci’s Tazza Farnese. Pan, with his pipes set aside, crowns Silenos with a wreath of grapevines, tendrils of which also cover his pubic area. Apollo looks on derisively as a donkey seemingly lifts its head in mirth at the proceedings.

Artist: Flemish, possibly Antwerp, second half of the 17th century
Medium: ivory
Dimensions: 6,8 x 7,8 cm