A Satyress is the female version of the Satyr—in this case, a human woman, usually bare-breasted, with the legs of a goat. While male Satyrs are commonplace in art, architecture and design, female Satyresses are not. Because the male creatures are usually associated with drunkeness, mischief and raw, animalistic sexuality, perhaps Classical and Rennaisance artists avoided portraying the female version—preferring, instead, to depict women as symbols of virtue.
But there are a few examples of the Satyress in art: Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Aubrey Beardsley, to name a few. Plus a few Italian sculptors. And, of course, the French Art Deco Bookends, pictured above. Signed by artist J. Descamps and made at the Louis Lourioux ceramics works, this rather bashful satyress emerges from a fruited bush. But perhaps it’s a trap. One never knows with satyrs and satyresses.
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