Where Ought The Human Part of Pan End and the Goat Part of Pan Begin?
I apologize for the slight vulgarity, but this issue has preyed on my mind for too long at this point; we absolutely must arrive at some consensus as soon as possible.
My sense is that we’re all in general agreement about where the horse half of a centaur leaves off, roughly at the (human) natural waist, and that the same is true of mermaids.
There’s the obvious exception in Arnold Böcklin’s Nessus and Deianeira, but I believe all right-thinking people can agree that he was in error, depicting an almost entirely-all horse centaur, with a human face and arms only sprouting out at the neck as a last-minute afterthought:
This style of depiction never took off, I mean to say, and quite rightly so.
What I propose is that we must arrive at a shared agreement about the god Pan (and satyrs more broadly, but I’ve noticed this most often in paintings of Pan in particular, so I think that’s where the crux of the issue lies).
His goat legs must, at the very least, continue over the buttocks, ending at either the level of the hips or the waist, I don’t really care which, as in Carracci’s Homage to Diana:
They cannot — indeed they must not — end at the top of the thighs, leaving Pan with human buttocks and goat legs only, as in von Aachen’s Pan and Selene:
The Chatner is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Worse yet is a Pan with goat-calves only, whose humanity begins at the knee, as in Lesrel’s Pan and Venus:
Luca’s Pan commits the same error. It is the worst of all possible worlds, a nude man wearing goat-boots:
You can see that even Carracci fumbles on another attempt at drawing Pan, now mistakenly rendering him human from the ass up:
This is nice. This is appropriate. This is a satyr! Man on the top, goat on the bottom, a nice clean divide in the middle:
Please see to it that this error is not repeated. Thank you for your time.