Description The Roman god of wine is typically depicted as a cheerfully tipsy youth who lived an idle life. Here, the unidentified sculptor subtly conveys these qualities through the god's swaying posture, making a virtue of the natural curve of the tusk. Bacchus's youthful but lax muscles are captured through the sensuosity of the highly polished ivory, especially in his distended belly. These soft, smooth surfaces are set off by the rougher textures of the scraggly-haired goat that accompanies him. Many excellent artists working in ivory did not sign their work, and few received specific commissions but instead offered their work for sale to collectors. In consequence, the authorship of many works of the highest quality, such as this, has not been established.
- The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
Provenance Josephus Jitta, Amsterdam [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; W. S. L. Schuster, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Christie's, London, November 24, 1911, lot 75; George Robinson Harding, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1912, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1912
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