Marble Statue of Silenus with the Infant Bacchus

Culture: Roman
Period: 1st-2nd century A.D.
Material: Marble
Dimensions: 49.5 cm high
Price: Sold
Ref: 3441
Provenance: Galerie La Reine Margot, Paris since the 1970s. 1984 with Royal-Athena Galleries in New York. There acquired by Marilynn and James A. , Chicago in 1985. Last in a family estate.
Condition: The left elbow with restoration, otherwise wonderfully preserved.
Description: Magnificent and emotional marble statue of a bearded Silenus lovingly holding in his arms the little Bacchus who is still wrapped in blankets. The figure of the corpulent Silenus emerges from large acanthus leaves. Silenus has a shawl wrapped around his belly, his head is bald except for a hair wreath, his long, wavy beard reaches almost to his chest. His arms are bent, and he tenderly looks at the newborn Bacchus. The small child holds his right hand to his head and smilingly gazes at his protector. The divine Dionysus, called Bacchus by the Romans, was raised by the nymphs and silenoi far away from Mount Olympus. The reason was goddess Hera’s rage because her husband Zeus had had an affair with Dionysus’ mother Semele and fathered the child. The depiction of the fatherly Silenus is based on the Greek bronze statue of Lysippus, which was crafted around 300 to 280 B.C. The most well known Roman marble depiction is today in the Louvre with the catalogue number Ma 922. The depiction with the massive calyx as foot indicates that the statue served as a table leg (trapezophoros). Published in: Royal-Athena Galleries “Art of the Ancient World Vol. VI”, New York 1985, number 213. Mounted.