Dionysos

Roman
Imperial Period
2nd–early 3rd century A.D.


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 160; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 111 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height x depth: 38 x 26 cm (14 15/16 x 10 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

41.909

Medium or Technique

Marble, Dolomitic from the Greek Island of Thasos

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Roman copy or eclectic work, based on a Greek prototype of the fourth century B.C.The tip of the nose and a section of strands of hair near the right eye are restored in plaster. Hair and complex wreath have suffered a fair amount of damage to the most prominent areas.
The hair is loosely yet severely dressed, parted in the middle and interwined with ivy berries or vine leaves and grapes. The complete statue showed the young god standing in the nude, a kantharos or high-handled drinking cup in his lowered right hand and a thyrsos or pinecone-topped staff in his raised left.

Scientific Analysis:
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and determined to be Dolomitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI115a: Isotope ratios - delta13C +3.20 / delta18O -3.62, Attribution - Thasos-Cape Vathy, Justification - Dolomitic by XRD.

Provenance

By 1839, probably Casimiro Pellegrini-Danieli, Zara (present-day Zadar, Croatia) [see note 1]; 1840, probably sold with the Pellegrini-Danieli collection to Pietro Cernazai (b. 1804 – d. 1858), Udine, Italy; 1858, by inheritance to his brother, Francesco Cernazai (b. 1802 – d. 1881), Udine; 1882, bequeathed by Francesco Cernazai to the Archbishop Seminary of Udine (inv. no. 135) [see note 2]; October 24-31, 1900, Cernazai collection sale, Seminario Arcivescovile, Udine, lot 416 [see note 3]. By 1926, Edward Jackson Holmes (b. 1873 – d. 1950), Boston [see note 4]; 1941, gift of Edward Jackson Holmes to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 11, 1941)

NOTES:
[1] Carlo Federico Bianchi, Zara Cristiana dell’Arcidiacono Capitolare, vol. II (Zara, 1880), 425-427 transcribes an 1839 inventory of the Pellegrini-Danieli collection, which in 1840 was sold en bloc to Pietro Cernazai. The inventory of some 300 works of art does not go into sufficient detail to identify the present sculpture. The Danieli collection had been formed in the eighteenth century by Antonio Danieli, whose antiquities came from the area around Zara, and in particular, from Aenona (present-day Nin, Croatia).

[2] See Julius Bankó and Pietro Sticotti, “Antikensammlung im erzbischöflichen Seminare zu Udine,” Archaeologisch-epigraphische Mittheilungen aus Oesterreich – Ungarn 18 (1895), 52-53 (on the history of the collection), and 75, cat. no. 32 (for the present sculpture).

[3] Many thanks to Jörg Deterling for locating this record.

[4] Lent by Edward Jackson Holmes to the MFA November 27, 1926 (loan no. 386.26).

Credit Line

Gift of Edward Jackson Holmes