Head from the Statue of the Young Bacchus

Object Details

Title:

Head from the Statue of the Young Bacchus

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place(s):

Roman Empire (Place created)

Date:

first half of 1st century

Medium:

Bronze with silver

Dimensions:

21.6 cm (8 1/2 in.)

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Dionysos, the god of wine, wears an ivy wreath hung with leaves and berries. This head is all that survives of what was once a life-size bronze statue of the god. The silvered whites of the eyes originally held inlaid irises. The dreamy, slightly unfocused gaze, as well as the slightly parted lips, conveys sensuousness and sexual ambivalence, characteristics frequently found in depictions of the god.

This portrayal derives from Hellenistic Greek art, in which the depiction of the god underwent a radical change. Before the Hellenistic period, the Greeks usually portrayed Dionysos as a mature bearded man. In Hellenistic and Roman art, Dionysos is a beardless youth, similar to images of the god Apollo, which sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish between the two gods. On this head, the ivy wreath identifies the god as Dionysos.

Provenance
- 1987

Robert E. Hecht, Jr., American, 1919 - 2012 (New York, New York)

- 1988

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1988.

1988 - 1997

Barbara Fleischman

and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995) (143)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999) (143)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004) (143)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Bibliography

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1994. pp. 279-82, cat. no. 143.

Mattusch, Carol. The Fire of Hephaistos: Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections. Exh. cat. Cambridge, Mass: 1996. color pl. 1; cat. no. 22 (as Fleischman Coll.).

Grossman, Janet B. "Fleischman Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum," Apollo, July 1997, pp. 18-19. no. 10, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 36.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997-1998. p. 66.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 36.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 180.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 19, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 179.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014), pp. 90-91, fig. 69, title page ill.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Ancient Greek & Roman Talk Show

Lesson in which students research and study artworks that depict Greek and Roman deities and present a mock TV talk show with the deities.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; History–Social Science

6-8; 9-12

Three/Five-Part Lesson