Ludovisi Dionysus


The over-lifesize marble ''Dionysus with Panther and Satyr'' in the
Palazzo Altemps The National Roman Museum (Italian: ''Museo Nazionale Romano'') is a museum, with several branches in separate buildings throughout the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = ...
, Rome, is a Roman work of the 2nd century AD, found in the 16th century on the
Quirinal Hill The Quirinal Hill (; la, Collis Quirinalis; it, Quirinale ) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber File:Rome flood marker.jpg, Rome ...
at the time foundations were being dug for
Palazzo Mattei image:RomaPalMatteiDiGioveCortile.jpg, upThe courtyard of the Palazzo Mattei di Giove. The Palazzo Mattei di Giove is the most prominent among a group of House of Mattei, Mattei houses that forms the ''insula Mattei'' in Rome, Italy, a block of bui ...
at Quattro Fontane. The statue was purchased for the
Ludovisi collection Ludovisi can refer to: *Ludovisi (family), a noble Italian family **Ludovisi papacy of Pope Gregory XV **Cardinals Ludovisi *** Cardinal Alessandro Ludovisi, later Pope Gregory XV **** Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi (the Pope's Cardinal Nephew and Oraz ...
, where it was first displayed in front of the ''Palazzo Grande'', the main structure of the Villa Ludovisi, and by 1641 in the gallery of sculptures in the ''Casino Capponi'' erected for Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in the villa's extensive grounds. By 1885, it had been removed to the new Palazzo del Principe di Piombino, nearby in via Veneto. With the rest of the Boncompagni-Ludovisi collection, which was open to the public on Sundays and covered in the guidebooks, and where it had become famous,"The youthful, or so-called Theban Bacchus, was carried to ideal beauty by Praxiteles... The finest statue of this kind is in the villa Ludovisi" (William Smith, ''A New Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography'', 1871, ''s.v.'' "Dionysus"); "...the eyes most intense and soft; the hair in curls, close to the head, brown with streaks of gold, strangely resembling the hair of some Greek statue — perhaps the Ludovisi Bacchus..." (William Francis Barry, ''Arden Massiter'', 1900, p. 16.) it was purchased in 1901 for the City of Rome, as the Ludovisi (family), Ludovisi collection was dispersed and the Villa's ground built over at the end of the 19th century. The formula, with somewhat exaggerated ''contrapposto'', the god's right hand resting on his head, is based on the Lycian Apollo, Apollo Lyceus, which is variously attributed and dated. This ivy-crowned Dionysus is accompanied by the leopard, panther that signalises his numinous presence, and a satyr of reduced size, a member of Thiasus, his retinue. Long locks of his hair fall girlishly over his shoulders and in his left hand he holds a bunch of grapes, emblematic of his status as god of wine. The original elements are the heads, torsos and thighs of Dionysus and the satyr. The arms of the satyr and the lower legs and base are modern— that is, 16th-century— restorations.




*Venetucci, Beatrice Palma. ''Museo Nazionale Romano. Le Sculture'' vol. I.4, Antonio Giuliano ed., Rome, 1983:84-90 Dionysus in art Ludovisi collection Collections of the National Roman Museum Hellenistic-style Roman sculptures Archaeological discoveries in Italy