Statue of Priapus

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 170–240


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 206; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 112 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Overall: 159 x 53 x 32 cm (62 5/8 x 20 7/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

RES.08.34a

Medium or Technique

Marble

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Bearded Priapus has a fillet with herringbone enrichment tied around his brow, and a cloak over his head and shoulders. He wears a high-belted sleeveless tunic over a long-sleeved tunic. He is holding them up to contain a lapful of fruits. His erect phallus also acts as a support for the fruit. High, rustic boots adorn his feet, which stand on a plinth. Such statues were placed in Roman gardens to ensure growth and act as protector of crops.

All surfaces are damaged somewhat and have been affected by ancient and later weathering.

Provenance

According to B. Palma, et al., Museo Nazionale Romano, Le Sculture (a cura di Antonio Giuliano) I, 6: Marmi Ludovisi dispersi (1979), p. 15: Lanciani acted as an intermediary in the sale of several sculptures from the Ludovisi Collection to the MFA, Boston, including this Priapos; by date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to his records: presumably from Rome); 1908: gift of Edward Perry Warren to MFA; accessioned 1910

Credit Line

Gift of Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren