Statue of Serapis with Cerberus

59.148.38

About this object

Statuette of the god Serapis in a throne with Cerberus, his three-headed dog. He is similar to many other statues, derived from the cult statue of Serapis from Alexandria, and attributed to 3rd century BC sculptor, Bryaxis. Such typical features include the frontal pose, the left arm raised and right outstretched, the costume of the sleeved chiton, the himation and the sandals, the large face with the beard, the long hair, the arrangement of hair on the forehead, and the modius ( grain measure ) on his head. The three headed dog Cerberus is also similar to the typology attributed to the Bryaxis statue. The god has the character of an oracle as symbolised by its open mouth. The statue was probably intended for a private setting, a domestic shrine and many similar ones have been found in Rome. The base with the overhanging lip would make it easy to display in a domestic setting. Serapis was a god associated with healing and death and had a strong personal appeal. Blundell identified the statue as Pluto because of the presence of Cerberus.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Art
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • 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
    890 mm x 480 mm x 540 mm x 248.5 kg
  • Note
    Hornbosei identified 2 groups of Serapis images reproducing the Alexandrian original, their differences mainly in the hairstyle. Bartman believes that the Ince piece belongs to the second type of Fransentypus with corkscrew curls across the forehead. This type was dominant in the Roman Imperial period. Bartman comments: Blundell may have been unaware of the Egyptian nature of the work even though he did have in his collection an altar with Serapis and Isis as well as Jupiter Ammon and nilometer.
    Fragments of the sceptre and hand kept in E2 Sculpture Cabinet, shelf f.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, 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: This book investigates the important antiquities collection formed by Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall, near Liverpool, in the late eighteenth century. Consisting of more than 500 ancient marbles - the UK's largest collection of Roman sculptures after that of the British Museum - the collection was assembled primarily in Italy during Blundell's various 'Grant Tour' visits. As ancient statues were the preeminent souvenir of the Grand Tour, Blundell has strong competition from other collectors, British nobility and European aristocrats, monarchs, and the Pope. His statues represent a typical cross section of sculptures that would have decorated ancient Roman houses, villas, public spaces and even tombs, although their precise origins are largely unknown. Most are likely to have come from Rome and at least one was found at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli.

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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