The Dancing Faun of Pompeii
by CosmoWenman, published
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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.
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.
15 million triangles (before editing)
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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The Dancing Faun of Pompeii by CosmoWenman is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.
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