About this object

Bust of an old Silenus, depicted in a state of drunkness, his tongue lolling inside his open mouth, a detail not often shown in classical sculpture and giving the head a naturalism. The restorer followed the ancient sculptor when restoring the beard attached to the chest: the head is shown falling forward and it is possible that the body of the Silenus is lying down or reclining and he is therefore represented as having fallen asleep from drunkness. His body would be short and flabby with a bulging pouch and possibly covered in fur. While the beard and the moustache are thic and heavy, the head seems to be adorned by the ivy wreath and the two front bunches of berries emerging from the wreath. His eyes are small and beady and they are under a thick brow. Together with his hairiness the thick brow may be a reminder of Silenus's masculine vigour. The restored ears represent him more as a human than a beast but the original ears were broken and we therefore do not know how he was originally depicted. Silenus or Bacchus would be used either in the interior of Roman villas in Roman dinning tables to underline the effect of excessive wine consumptions or in the exterior of villas, emphasising the wild nature of the creature. Copy of an original of about the early second century BC.

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
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    560 mm
  • Note
    Bought from the Capponi Palace by Blundell. Bartman noted that this is not a caricatured representation of Silenus such as one in Villa Quintili.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell (Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Col Sir Weld (Previous owner)

Where is this object from?

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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.

  • A Selection from the Ince Blundell Hall Marbles

    Author:
    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
    Date: 1961
    Description:

  • 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
Object view = Humanities
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