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Silenus and the Infant Dionysos

The aged Silenus, tutor and companion of the god of wine Dionysos, cradles the god who is here shown as a baby. The figure was first identified as a faun. One early critic, however, preferred to see him as Saturn about to devour one of his children.

It is a sculpture which was once more celebrated than it is today. It was praised greatly by writers and aesthetes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and was frequently reproduced in France, Italy and Great Britain. Its ownership changed a number of times between 1569 when it is first recorded, and 1807 when Napoleon acquired it for France.

The original has been extensively restored in grey-veined marble and plaster

Location of Original: 

Paris, Louvre 922


Purchased from the Louvre in 1884


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 282 (n.4), pl. 101.2
Richter: Three Critical Periods in Greek Sculpture, 19-, & cf. fig.27
Brunn-Bruckmann: Denkmäler Griechischer und Römischer Skulptur, pl. 64
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 79, no.371

Roman. Original: early Hellenistic

Found in Rome in the 16th century in the Gardens of Sallust near the Quirinal, Rome

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