"The Faun and the Deer” is based on an ancient classical motive. Peter Depelchin observed an Attic drinking cup at the Villa Giulia in Rome representing the same scene: a satyr copulating with a deer. Satyrs traditionally copulate with all animals. Victor Hugo claimed in his allegoric poem “le Satyre” they even make love to the plants and flowers. Satyrs as masters of nature and Pan as god of fertility crave to do so, and it is clearly Christian morality that judged them as being decadent. Are Dionysian forces decadent? Aren’t these chthonic forces inherent to life? The drawing both shows life and death, represented by the abundant presence of plants on the left and the absence of life illustrated by bare branches on the right. Above these branches Depelchin drew the black hole for the first time. As a reference to life and death itself, it covers the content of the piece and completes the allegory.
In order to create an ambiguous satyr, Depelchin combined the posture of the creature of the Attic Vase with the sculpture “Tête d’un Faun” (1893) from the French sculptor Jean Carriès. Always combining different sources of art history Depelchin’s work has a universal touch and by bringing together mythology and astrophysics he paves the way towards the future of art.