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Greek and Roman Art
The beauty of Ancient Greek and Roman art
14th-Apr-2012 09:49 pm

Statue of Dionysus wearing an ivy wreath

This is a Roman copy 40-60 AD of a lost Greek original of 350-325 BC, said to be from near Naples.

'This heavily draped statue of the wine god Dionysus is one of a number of Roman copies and variants of a lost Greek original.  A similar statue in the Vatican Museum was inscribed at a later period with the name 'Sardanapalus', a mythical Assyrian king notorious for his decadent behaviour. There is however, no connection between Sardanapalus and this statue type of Dionysus.  While most late Classical statues of Dionysus show him as youthful and slightly effeminate,
this bearded version looks back to earlier Archaic representations of the god.'

14th-Apr-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it's very interesting. I never saw, or even was aware, of the existence of this type of statues of Dionysus. It stands to logic that this type was more archaic, not classical that most people familiar with.

I am also never came across of any myths in which Dionysus described as middle aged male. Maybe some in some less known hymns? You picked my curiosity, frankly. Are you familiar with any?

Also, do you know how it was determined that it's Dionysus? I understand the ivy wreath implications, but there must be more?
15th-Apr-2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, that's all I know, which is what was shown on the museum's plaque. At first glance, it does look like it should be Zeus or Poseidon and I've never seen Dionysus depicted like this before but, perhaps as he was one of the 12 Olympians, we should expect him to be shown as a mature man, not a youth - which is more the province of Apollo.
14th-Apr-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
I said it before, but I cannot get over with the detail of drapes. It's incredible!
15th-Apr-2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Yes - so much incredible attention to detail!
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