COLOSSAL STATUE OF DIONYSUS2020-01-12T15:17:35+00:00

Project Description


Although only the torso is antique, the statue has been excellently restored as a representation of Dionysus. The weight of the figure is on the right leg, while the left is bent forwards. The right arm stretched up-wards and holding a bunch of grapes was formerly bent over the head, while the left may correspond to the original position. The statue resembles a figure belonging the group of Dionysus and a satyr, examples of which are to be found in Rome at the Palazzo Altemps and in the Vatican Museums. This type of Dionysus derives from the Apollo Lykeios, a work attributed to Euphranor. In the Borghese Gallery copy the restoration has isolated the figure of the god from its original context and simplified the composition, replacing the satyr serving as a support with a tree trunk. The handling of the nude figure, with chiaroscuro effects stressing the various anatomical divisions of the abdomen and thorax, gives the muscles the bulging character typical of Hellenistic compositions.
The relief on which the statue stands formed part of a large plinth together with the other sections already described in this hall and the one in room II. It is composed of two parts that originally were not linked: the one on the left was on the rear of the monument together with the fragment embedded in the wall of room II; the one on the right is one of the sides and repeats the scene on the right of the relief no. 5b in this hall, which is the other side of the plinth. The break between the two fragments; which have been arbitrarily joined by- the restorer, is clearly visible between the he-goat and Pan. From left to right, the scene comprises: a young satyr disputing over a large bunch of grapes with an aggressive-looking Eros sitting on a he-goat, itself ready to attack; Pan, in a dynamic pose, holding out in his left hand a goat’s head towards the altar from which a high flame rises, while, in his right hand, he is clutching a knife; the composition concludes with a herm of Dionysus, added by the restorer.

Click here to book your Borghese Gallery tickets or here to book a Borghese Gallery tour