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Fauno rosso

June 22–September 28, 2013

Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Kirkwood Hall
On loan from the city of Rome
Admission is FREE.

He is an unkempt creature of the wild, with shaggy hair and goat-like characteristics–pointed ears, a short tail and dewlaps–and he is delighted to raise high a cluster of freshly picked grapes. The red–marble Fauno rosso, a spectacular example of ancient Roman sculpture, will be on view for the first time ever in America, thanks to a new relationship between the city of Rome and the Nelson-Atkins. Through September 30, visitors to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art can view the sculpture in Kirkwood Hall, which has been transformed into a classic Roman palazzo.

The loan is part of a program of exchanges and cultural events that was launched with the support of the Embassy of Italy in 2011, called The Dream of Rome, a collaboration between the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Enel Green Power and the Knights of Columbus. Through The Dream of Rome, some of Rome's masterpieces will be on display in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Kansas City.

The great Emperor of Rome Hadrian commissioned the Fauno rosso, and it was most likely sculpted by Aristeas and Papias of Aphrodisias in modern-day Turkey. Pope Benedict XIV Lambertini gave the sculpture to the Capitoline Museum in 1746, and the Capitoline is now lending the sculpture to the Nelson-Atkins.

The Fauno rosso depicts a satyr, follower of Dionysus, the god of wine. The entire sculpture is of red marble, rather than the commonly used white marble, and seems to suggest that the subject is so drunk that his skin has turned into the color of the grapes. To his left is a goat that looks up at him and rests one leg on a wicker basket. The Fauno rosso's eyes would have been of glass or brilliant stone (the sockets have been hollowed out to receive them) and would have been sparkling with life and energy. This exhibit is also one of the highlights of 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., an initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, showcasing the best of Italy through over 200 events, in more than 50 American cities.

Fauno rosso, Roman, 2nd century C.E. Red marble, 66 inches (167.5 cm). Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale – Musei Capitolini.

Special Presentation
Rock Hard and Chiseled: The Male Nude in Western Art
Sunday, September 7
1:30-3 p.m. | Atkins Auditorium

Celebrate the Fauno rosso with a provocative afternoon exploring 2,000 years of the sculpted male form. Curators Robert Cohon, Nicole Myers and educator Rose May give brief presentations on the nude in antiquity, the Renaissance and the nineteenth century. Moderated by the museum's new director of curatorial affairs, Antonia Bostrom.