The Dancing Faun of Pompeii

by CosmoWenman, published

The Dancing Faun of Pompeii by CosmoWenman Nov 27, 2014
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(Note: the Dancing Faun has been added to the Washington, D.C. leg of the Getty Museum's exhibit of ancient bronzes, Power and Pathos, which the New York Times calls "one of the best exhibitions of sculpture you may ever see." It's at the National Gallery of Art through March 20, 2016.)

The lines are drawn, the orders are in,
The Dance Commander's ready to sin.
Radio message from HQ;
Dance Commander, we love you.

—Electric Six, Dance Commander

The Dancing Faun was discovered on October 26, 1830 in the ruins of the most opulent Roman home discovered at Pompeii: the House of the Faun, as it later became known, which was also home to the Alexander Mosaic. The Faun is thought to be either a 2nd-century Greek original, or a very high-quality Roman copy.

Upon its discovery, as Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny write in Taste and the Antique, "The fame of this small bronze was instantaneous ... its first cataloger described it as the finest bronze to have been excavated at Pompeii and compared it to the Barberini Faun."

Its small size made it ideal for reproduction and for decorating gardens and drawing rooms. Victorians raved about the Faun, no doubt with assurances like that from the Naples museum, which advised that "the Faun was ecstatic and not in the intoxicated condition of various other bronze Fauns from Herculaneum and Pompeii…"

"Ecstatic," indeed. All that's missing from the original work are glowsticks and a phat electronic beat.

I laser scanned a 19th-century plaster cast of the Faun at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum. His hair needed some digital resculpting to restore loss of detail in the plaster and to restore two broken fingers on his left hand.

I'm going to use this data to cast a 1:1 copy in bronze, the first of its kind. It'll be for sale; if you know anyone who might be interested, please send them my way. Glowsticks optional.

—Cosmo Wenman
[email protected]

I captured this work as part of my project, "Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle." You can see the rest of the results at thingiverse.com/thing:83781

Statuette eines tanzenden Satyrn
Skulpturhalle Basel accession number 273

Statuette eines tanzenden Satyrn. Aus dem danach benannten Haus in Pompeji. Bronzekopie nach späthellenistischem Vorbild um 550 v. Chr. Neapel, Nationalmuseum.

Plaster cast molded from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli's Fauno danzante.

Scanned with a FARO Edge Arm with V5 Laser Line Probe at 0.25mm line space with 0.035mm precision, September, 2013.

The lower-res versions were cleanly decimated with Project Memento.

826mm tall

15 million triangles (before editing)

The music in my video, http://youtu.be/xFcC--eor_s, is George Michael's Careless Whisper, remixed by The Polish Ambassador.

Thanks to the Skulpturhalle Basel museum.

Thanks to FARO and FARO's Daniel Mazzolini and Thomas Weinert for making laser scanning equipment available to me.

Thanks to Chris Bartschat and Florian Fünfschilling for their expertise and for operating the equipment.

Thanks to Mushogenshin for help re-sculpting some lost detail in the head, and restoring the fingers.

And thanks to Autodesk’s Reality Capture division, who sponsored this project.

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I don't have a 3d printer yet, but I would love to have a print of this. How much would it cost to have someone print it for me, say about 50 cm tall? WOuld need to be good quality as I want to try and make a silicone mold.

Please email me at [email protected] about the specs you need.

Really great upload, thanks.

I am however having issues getting the torso to print. Each time after about 10%-15%, the elbow will get knocked out of position and the print fails. I've lowered my speed and printed with rafts, but the issue keeps happening. All other parts print wonderfully.

What are the chances of getting a version with the right arm and torso separated?

I've added 20141206Kit_RightArmOptions.zip which has the torso and right arm separated, and an option for the right arm in sections.

Oh man, you are my hero! Can't thank you enough for this.

Going to print them today. I'll be sure to upload some pics of the finished product.

Edit: The updated files worked great. Thanks again. I uploaded a picture of the finished product, which I'm really happy with.

I love this!

I'd always wanted to have my own Dancing Faun but it isn't easy to find (at least a good copy instead of the tourist dreck that turns up when I did find something). Have you considered scanning the Barberini Faun? I've attempted a recreation using a range of photos I've culled from Flickr and Google Images searches, but predictably, my efforts were a mixed bag at best since the quality and exposure of the images varied so widely. There is also the usual problem of getting enough coverage of all sides.

Seeing the Dancing Faun here got me to thinking about some of the more exuberant sculptures from antiquity and I'd like to nominate a few for your consideration (these do have an erotic element to them, so anyone else clicking on the links, please be forewarned).




I so envy you for all the fun you're having scanning all these incredible sculptures.

The Skulpturhalle does have a cast of the Barberini Faun, but larger pieces like that take a lot more time. Venus de Milo and Winged Victory were the only large-scale pieces I had time for, and spent the rest on getting smaller pieces.

There's a plaster cast of the Barberini Faun in Italy that was broken earlier this year -- someone sat on it while taking a selfie: http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2584415/Student-destroys-statue-trying-selfie-sitting-knee.html