Marsyas was a satyr in Greek mythology who famously challenged Apollo to a musical contest and lost. This bronze was cast after Renaissance models based on antique prototypes that were likely influenced by the work of the painter and sculptor Antonio del Pollaiuolo. An example of a Renaissance model similar to the one from which the present work was cast is in the Frick Collection, New York (acc. no. 1916.2.06). It is probable that this figure of Marsyas originally held a flute in his hands.