Dionysus.

Bronze. 117—138 CE.
Inv. No. 1060.

Rome, Roman National Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
(Museo nazionale romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme)

Origin:
Found in the Tiber river-bed during the excavations for the foundation of a pier for the Ponte Garibaldi (1885).
Description:
Statue of Dionysus.

Found in the Tiber river-bed during the excavations for the foundation of a pier for the Ponte Garibaldi (1885).

In 1984-1985, a restoration was carried out for conservation purposes, which also included the removal of the late nineteenth-century stucco refinishings especially present on the lower limbs. Bronze, lost-wax method.

Ht. 158 cm; inv. 1060.

The statue represents a nude youthful Dionysus standing on his right leg, with the left gently bending backward and resting on the ball of the foot. The head is slightly turned to the right, causing a light movement in the left shoulder and arm, which holds a thyrsus, the traditional attribute of the god. The long hair is parted in the center, fixed above the forehead by a hairpin decorated with grape-leaves, and spreads out in two wavy ribbons which cascade onto the shoulders. The pose shows a noticeable debt to the influence of Polycletus, while the movement of the head and the sinuous contours of the flanks indicate a familiarity with the works of Praxiteles. The composition relates to a famous model, the so-called Woburn Abbey type, created sometime in the middle of the fourth century BC, of which more than twenty copies and variants are known. This is the first statue type to portray the god nude and as a youth, and met with great success in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The position of the left arm, however, differs from that seen in the examples in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek in Copenhagen and in the statue from the Horti Lamiani in the Musei Capitolini. P. Zanker argues that the Tiber statue’s composition is derived from the so-called “Stephanos Athlete,” a classicist Roman creation of the first century BC, modified by the addition of the long wavy hairstyle. This makes the piece an eclectic creation of the Imperial age, and indicative of the classical taste in that time. The incised pupils and the notable thickness of the upper eyelid suggest a date in either the Hadrianic or Antonine period.

P. Zanker, Klassizistische Statuen, Mainz, 1974, p. 64;
M. R. Sanzi Di Mino, Dioniso dal Tevere, in Akten der 9. Tagugng über antike Bronzen in Wien (Vienna, April 21-25, 1986), Vienna, 1988, pp. 165—167;
Archeologia a Roma. La materia e la tecnica nell’arte antica, M. R. Sanzi Di Mino, M. Bertinetti ed., Catalogo of the exhibition (Rome, April-December, 1990), Rome, 1990, p. 113, no. 100 (M. R. Di Mino);
Roma. 1000 anni di civiltà, A. La Regina ed., Catalog of the exhibition (Montréal, May 7-October 12, 1992), p. 110, no. 153 (M. R. Di Mino);
regarding the Woburn Abbey type, see H. U. Cain, Dionysos, “Die Locken lang, ein halbes Weib?”, Munich, 1998, ñ. 34 ff.

Brunella Germini
Credits:
(ññ) 2006. Photo: Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Text: museum inscription to the sculpture.
© 2005.Description: Museo Nazionale Romano. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. English Edition. Edited by Adriano La Regina. Electa, 2005 (First Edition 1998), p. 147.
THE GALLERY OF ANCIENT ART
Keywords: bronze statue sculpture Bacchus Dionysus Dionysos thyrsus thyrsos wreath diadem diademà Inv No 1060
HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME