The child Dionysus

Imperial Period
about A.D. 140–170


Mount (Black marble base ): 7.3 x 23.5 x 36.2 cm (2 7/8 x 9 1/4 x 14 1/4 in.) Case (painted wooden base): 67.3 x 66 x 66 cm (26 1/2 x 26 x 26 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Carrara, Italy

On View

Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)


The Ancient World



In this statue, Dionysus (also known as Bacchus), is portrayed with a childish face, body, and limbs. Dionysus was the god of drama, wine, and fertility. The god wears a wreath of ivy leaves and grapes over his wavy hair and grape-clusters over his ears. He also wears a fillet across his forehead that ends in tresses on his neck. His chlamys (cloak) is draped over his left arm and contains pomegranates and fruit, indicating abundance; the cloak is buttoned on his right shoulder and partially covers his protruding stomach.

The right arm is broken from the shoulder; and the drapery-covered left arm supports pomegranates and fruit, although the left hand is missing. The right leg is advanced; but his feet and part of plinth are missing. Some root-marks, incrustation, and abrasion can be found upon the surface of the piece.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8433: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.0 / delta18O -2.4,

Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 14 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.65mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 85.1%, line width 57.7%; color % 84,

Attribution - Carrara. Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, flecks of gray, moderate EPR intensity


By 1987: with Sotheby's, 1334 York Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021 (Sotheby's sale, May 29, 1987, lot 105, illustrated on cover of the sale catalogue); by 1994, with Acanthus, 24 East 81st Street, New York, N.Y. 10028; purchased by MFA from Acanthus, October 26, 1994

Credit Line

Given in memory of Benjamin Rowland, Jr. by his wife and daughters