Statue of Serapis with Cerberus


About this object

Statuette of the god Serapis with Cerberus, his three-headed dog. This also derives from the Roman version of the Bryaxis Serapis as is the 59.148.38 but it also different, indicating the variety of interpretations of the same type. 59.148.39 is much more frontal than 59.148.38, especially in the head, the proportions of the figure are narrower and the carving of the drapery has fewer folds hanging repetitively. The folds are flattened, the volume of the drapery has a deep undercutting. The chiaroscuro affect is stronger than in 59.148.38. The throne has also been cut back to accommodate the narrower body, and a space between the figure and the scepter on the left side and a triangular shadow underneath the right arm. At the forehead the hair is arranged in an anastole (rather than the corkscrew curls of 59.148.38), following the Hellenistic tradtion of the old statue. This hairstyle arrangement was not common in large sculptural examples but the restorer may have inspired by representations of the god in media such as gems. Bartman noted that the deep channels that outline the drapery folds may be possible recuts, aiming to dramatise the sculpture. Such recut may not be Cavaceppi's work and may indiecate early 3rd century AD as a possible date, especially because of the flattened drapery.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe
  • Date made
    3rd Century AD early
  • Materials
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    850 mm x 530 mm x 410 mm x 100.5 kg
  • Note
    Bartman comments: the statuette has a strong three dimensional effect and a sense of depth. The deep channels that outline the drapery folds may be possible recuts, aiming to dramatise the sculpture. Bartman does not view such recut as Cavaceppi's work and proposes early 3rd century AD, especially because of the flattened drapery.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Bartolomeo Cavaceppi ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

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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
  • Bartolomeo Cavaceppi

    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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