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Statue of Pan and the she-goat on display at the ‘Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’ exhibition: British Museum. On loan from the Museum in Naples where it is normally kept behind a curtain with an age restriction of fourteen. This was not thought necessary by the British Museum curators. The statue was in a glass case and lit from above, so I had to do some work to hide the unwanted reflections and glare, hence the texture. I got caught twice taking photographs, and was warned that if I was caught a third time I would have to leave the exhibition, so I wasn’t able to take many shots. It was only luck that I managed this one.

The ancient statue has an interesting history. It was unearthed from the Villa dei Papiri in 1752 and the King and Queen of Naples and all the court were present as it was brought to light . They were horrified when they saw what it depicted as a contemporary report explains:

“Amidst a flotilla of courtiers in silks and befurred velvet finery, Charles and his Prussian wife Queen Maria Amalia arrived in a rustling, stately procession and took their seats on folding chairs. From the bowels of the earth the carved white marble group of two embracing figures, which Weber had found in the Great Peristyle, appeared at the mouth of the tunnel, borne upon a litter carried by prison labourers. A shiver of excitement rippled through the court. Already the dainty turn of that horn revealed the prized Greek look. When the whole sculpture group hoved into view two heads could be seen and two bodies. One seemed to be a man of sorts, though at closer look he wore two small horns on his head. He gazed fondly into the female’s languid marble eyes. For locked in his embrace was a female goat, surely the prettiest in the flock, whom he was in the act of penetrating.”

The King was so shocked that he ordered the excavation to be halted and the statue was thereafter hidden away and kept under lock and key in the gabinetto segreto. More on its subsequent history here:

enfolding.org/pan-disreputable-objects-of-pagan-licentiou…

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