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Torso of a God - Works of Art - Ariadne Galleries

Provenance: European Private Collection, acquired in 1979.
Private Collection, North America, 2014-2016.
Published: Christies, New York, Antiquities, 9 December 2008, lot 160.

Dionysus to the Greeks, Bacchus to the Romans, the god of wine and earthly revelry is powerfully represented in this superb marble torso, which captures the idealised beauty of the divine male form. The wine-god represents the wild abandon of merriment and ecstasy brought on by inebriation. He stands here completely at ease, the idealized epitome of relaxation.

The composition of this striking depiction is loosely based on a Greek fourth century BC sculpture of Apollo, known as the Apollo Lyceus, by master sculptor, Praxiteles. Often reimagined as Dionysos in the Roman period, the god’s right arm was originally raised and resting on his head. He would have been leaning on a support to his left, and may have clutched a bunch of grapes in his left hand.

This Roman period interpretation follows in the footsteps of the Greek original in its sensuous carving, exuding the relaxed and jovial aura appropriate for the immortal who inspired wild and uninhibited celebration. It is a rare and masterful portrayal of a Greek archetype remarkably interpreted by a Roman master sculptor.


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