Today we start our week-long workshop on creature design at the Woodstock School of Art.
We’re going to create the most famous satyr, Pan, based on studies of a human and goat model, some skulls, and other props.
Here’s some background info about the creature we’ll be trying to bring to life:
In Greek mythology, Pan is the protector of flocks and shepherds. He lives in Arcadia, the region of rustic mountain folk. He is a satyr (in Greek, Σάτυροι — Sátyroi), half-human, half goat or ram. (“Satyresses” were a late invention of poets). In mythology they are often associated with male sex drive and vase-painters often portrayed them with uncontrollable erections. The early Greek respesentations of satyrs often showed them as balding and bearded, with human legs and a horse’s tail.
Their chief was called Silenus, a minor deity associated (like Hermes and Priapus) with fertility. These characters can be found in the only remaining satyr plays: Cyclops by Euripedes and Sophocles‘ The Searching Satyrs. The satyr play was a lighthearted follow-up attached to the end of each trilogy of tragedies in Athenian festivals honoring Dionysus. These plays would take a comic approach to the heavier subject matter of the tragedies in the series, featuring heroes speaking in tragic iambic verse and taking their situation seriously as “straight men” to the flippant, irreverent and obscene remarks and antics of the satyrs. The groundbreaking tragic playwright Aeschylus is said to have been especially loved for his satyr plays, but none of them survived.
Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through later conflation with the Roman Faunus, a carefree nature spirit of similar temperament. Hence satyrs are most commonly described as having the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat. They are also described as possessing a long, thick tail, either that of a goat or a horse. Mature satyrs are often depicted with goat’s horns, while juveniles are often shown with bony nubs on their foreheads. Attic painted vases depict mature satyrs as being strongly built with flat noses, large pointed ears, long curly hair, and full beards, with wreaths of vine or ivy circling their balding heads. Satyrs often carry the thyrsus: the rod of Dionysus tipped with a pine cone.
Satyrs are described as roguish but faint-hearted folk — subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, women and boys, and are ready for every physical pleasure. They roam to the music of pipes (auloi), cymbals, castanets, and bagpipes, and love to dance with the nymphs (with whom they are obsessed, and whom they often pursue), and have a special form of dance called sikinnis. Because of their love of wine, they are often represented holding winecups, and appear often in the decorations on winecups.
Some satyrs are depicted as old. On painted vases and other Greek art, satyrs are represented in the three stages of a man’s life: mature satyrs are bearded, and are shown as fat and balding, both a humiliating and unbecoming disfigurement in Greek culture.
This text is adapted from
Wikipedia and LOS Blog. and