Head of a Water-god

59.148.123

About this object

Colossal head of possibly a water-god with a massive forehead and a protruding brow emphasising his strength and power. The slightly pointy ears make him look more like a god rather than a human. The hair is weathered, possibly from its outdoor placement in the Renaissance when the head was used as a fountain. The tousled looks retain the chisel marks and the unkempt locks of the hair suggest that he has just emerged from the water. The lower edge of his facial skin is jagged suggesting sea weed. The paddle shaped bust is a modern addition of the 18th century when the bust would have left the Villa d'Este.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Materials
    Marble
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    1200 mm x 660 mm x 620 mm
  • Note
    Venturini's engraving shows the colossal head as the crowing sculptural element of a Renaissance fountain, where the head was flanked by sculpted eagles. It is uncertain whether the head would have disgorged water when it decorated the Villa d' Este fountain, depicted by Venturini. Elizabeth Bartman noted its use as a fountain was enigmatic.
    Compared by Ashmole to similar colossal heads in the Vatican but different in the Ince one is curved all around rather than a mask.
    and observed that the head is a rare and impressive work.
    Blundell placed the head on top of a fragement of a colossal knee and leg to create an unusual display that was probably meant to emphasise the framentary nature of much surviving ancient sculpture.
  • Related people
    `Pacetti, Vincenzo (Previous owner); Henry Blundell (Collector, previous owner); Francesco d'Este (Previous owner); Ippolito d'Este (Previous owner); Joseph William Col Sir Weld (Previous owner)

Explore related

Publications

  • A Catalogue of the Ancient Marbles at Ince Blundell Hall

    Ashmole, Bernard

    Author: Ashmole, Bernard
    Publisher: Clarendon Press
    Date: 1929
    Description: An illustrated catalogue of the ancient sculptures collected by Henry Blundell and formerly at Ince Blundell Hall.

  • An Account of the Statues, Busts, Bass Relieves, Cinerary Urns, and other ancient marbles, and paintings at Ince. Collected by H.B.

    Blundell, Henry

    Author: Blundell, Henry
    Publisher:
    Date: 1803
    Description:

  • Ancient Marbles in Great Britain

    Michaelis, A

    Author: Michaelis, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Date: 1882
    Description:

  • The Ince Blundell collection of classical sculpture Volume III-The ideal sculpture

    Bartman, Elizabeth

    Author: Bartman, Elizabeth
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 2017
    Description:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Francesco d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Ippolito d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • `Pacetti, Vincenzo

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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