Wild Man

Wild Man

c. 1450


Overall: 13.4 cm (5 1/4 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund, and James Parmelee Fund 1965.21


Did you know?

The wild man is derived from the Greek satyr who lived in the woods.


Common in medieval art, the wild man is humanlike in appearance with long shaggy hair over his entire body and typically carries a club. Living at the fringe of society in woodland areas, wild men symbolized man in his natural, uncivilized state. Perhaps derived from the part-man part-beast satyr of antiquity, the wild man symbolized lust and aggression in contrast to the spiritual love embodied in medieval chivalry. This bearded version is shown kneeling while raising his right arm holding a club. He wears a twisted cloth circlet on his head and a similar belt at the waist. It has been suggested that this sculpture originally formed part of a suspended candelabra. It may also have served as support for large metal vessels.

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