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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Relief of a Dancing Maenad (forgery)

There are a large number of relief sculptures depicting dancing Maenads. Most are Roman copies based on an original Greek genre. The Roman copies preserve the religious significance of the Greek prototypes — the frenzied celebrations for the god Dionysos — whilst adding a strong decorative element.

This example however is thought to be a forgery. The arrangement of head and arms is the reverse of other, genuine, Roman types, and the necklace is without parallel. Furthermore, the carving of the drapery is unusual: the folds of her garment are strangely regular and like one another, and her cloak seems to hover over her shoulders. The work also has no historical provenance to link it to a Roman context

Location of Original: 

Rome, Villa Albani 780

1.57 x 0.70m

Purchased in 1884 from the Paris Beaux Arts


Hauser: Die Neu Attischen Reliefs (1889), 13, no.11
Helbig: Führer durch die Öffentlichen Sammlungen Klassischer Altertümer in Rom (2nd edition) II, 14, no.780
Lawrence: Later Greek Sculpture (1927), 49, pl. 85
Touchette: Dancing Maenad Reliefs, 89, no.76, pl. 47b



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