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The drunken wine god greets bathers

Unknown160/170

Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

The statue group shows the god of wine, Dionysos, accompanied by a young satyr from his retinue. Dionysos stands facing the front, his right arm above his head, his left arm resting on the shoulders of his companion, who gazes up at him, and his left hand holding his characteristic wine goblet (kantharos). Symbols or attributes of the two figures can be seen on the statues’ supports: a panther beside the right knee of Dionysos, a shepherd’s flute (syrinx) beside the left knee of the satyr. The group came to light in the town of Miletus in Asia Minor, in the Faustina Baths, which were founded in AD 164/65. When it was discovered, the group was lying in the pool of the tepidarium (room with moderately warm air), into which it had fallen from its plinth on the pool’s edge. Originally, the statue had occupied a prominent position on the visual axis of the long room. The composition goes back to late Hellenistic models and was frequently copied in the Roman imperial period, sometimes in a modified form. Stylistically, our group can be dated to the Antonine period – somewhere around AD 160-170 – and could therefore have been specially made for the statuary decor of the magnificent bath complex. However, it is not impossible – as was the case in other rooms in the baths – that the decor was supplemented at a later date and that pre-existing statues were used for the purpose. The head of the wine god and his lower right arm have been restored in plaster, following a closely related sculpture in the Vatican Museums. The genitals of both statues were carefully chiselled away in late antiquity, as they were in the case of three other nude male statues from the Faustina Baths (now in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul). This was apparently done to adapt the statues to a contemporary taste changed by the influence of by Christianity. The first modern restoration was made in Berlin around 1920; after 1930, the group was set up in the left-hand archway of the Market Gate of Miletus. In the post-war period, it remained in storage for decades, before being thoroughly restored in 2001/02 and returned to the public.

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  • Title: The drunken wine god greets bathers
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 160/170
  • Location: Miletus, Faustina Baths, tepidarium
  • Physical Dimensions: h230 cm
  • Type: Statue
  • Medium: Marble
  • Inv.-No.: Sk 1797
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Martin Maischberger and Andreas Scholl || Photo: © b p k - || Photo Agency / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Johannes Laurentius
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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