Jean-François de Troy

Pan and Syrinx

1733
The tale of Pan's frustrated assault on the nymph Syrinx was recounted in several classical texts, most memorably in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" (Book 1, verses 698-712). Son of Mercury and the nymph Dryope, Pan was born half man, half goat, and his animal features were mocked by the nymphs who invariably spurned his lustful advances. He developed an overwhelming passion for the chaste Syrinx, one of Diana's attendants, and pursued her in the woods as she was returning from Mount Lycaeus. Unable to run any faster, upon reaching the edge of a stream she implored her father, the river-god Ladon to rescue her: this he did by transforming her into marsh reeds at the very instant of Pan's embrace. Finding himself alone with a group of marsh reeds in his arms, the god was so charmed by the sound made by the air as it whistled through the reeds that he fashioned an instrument of seven pipes, to be used hereafter by his followers, the satyrs, in their revels and merrymaking. Frame: carved wood, gilded. France, mid-18th century
Title
Pan and Syrinx
Date
1733
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
90.5 x 73 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 2000
Accession number
40407