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Antinous as Dionysos

Upper half of a colossal statue.

The Emperor Hadrian became obsessed with Antinous, a young man from Asia Minor, to the extent that the Emperor created a cult of Antinous when the young man died, in 130 CE.

Hadrian also loved Classical Greek sculpture, so had made a number of sculptures of the beautiful youth in the guise of various gods. Here we see Antinous as Dionysos the Greek wine god. The inspiration from fifth century BCE Greek sculpture is clear, although the added sense of brooding romance in this sculpture means it could never be mistaken for the work of Pheidias or the other High Classical masters.

The full-length figure was originally draped in bronze

Marble and bronze
Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican, Sala Rotonda 540

1.10m (total height of original: 3.26m)

Transferred from the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1884


Lippold: Catalogue of the Vatican (1936), III, 113, no.540
Hekler: Greek and Roman Portraits, pl. 255
Strong: Roman Sculpture from Augustus to Constantine, 249
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 109, no.572
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 895, no.604

First half of C2 CE

Found about a mile from Palestrina by Gavin Hamilton in 1793

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