Roman Marble Dionysiac Herm Bust

SKU: HQ.0040

Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 1st - 2nd Century AD
Dimensions: 7" Height (17.5 cm) 13.75" with Marble Base
Medium: Marble

Flat-backed, the youthful god of wine shown with prominent features, his wavy hair bound in a garland, with ribbons that hang down behind his ears and drape over his shoulders, his oval face with a pronounced rounded chin, high fleshy cheek bones, recessed heavy-lidded almond-shaped eyes, distinguished brow and straight nose, his parted lips with a slightly mischievous grin.  The marble with a sumptuous creme and tanned patina, beautiful veining and rich color throughout.

European private collection, circa 18th Century (based on restoration techniques and Carrara marble plinths), American private collection, acquired in the late 1960s/early 1970s, with Gallerie Chenel, Paris, Sotheby's, London, Antiquities, 12 August 2016.

Intact as preserved with possible restoration or encrustation to the tip of the nose. Moderate chips, cracks, and abrasions throughout. Loss to some tendrils in hair. High gloss surface with light encrustation and slightly beige patina. Yellow and purple veins suggest this is Nubian yellow marble. Elements of the face such as eyes, cheekbones, mouth, and chin are well preserved. The proper left corner is restored to create a sharp corner to be flush with the base. The back is and underside is even and affixed to a modern marble base. Old Sotheby's sale sticker affixed to back of base.

Herms performed an apotropaic function in Classical Greece, and were usually placed at physical boundaries such as crossroads, or doorways, as well as in gymnasia, near tombs, and in the agora. By the Roman period, they served largely a decorative purpose, and the herm evolved from being surmounted exclusively with the head of Hermes, to being topped by either janiform or singular busts of other gods, mythical heroes and historical portraits.

Frel, Jiří. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum: A Checklist; Sculpture II: Greek Portraits and Varia (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, November 1979), p. 36, no. V74



Roman Marble Dionysiac Herm Bust


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