The Bacchus of the via del Babuino
This exceptional bronze was discovered in September 1880 in the via del Babuino, in the foundations of the English church.
In the absence of the tributes which he would have held, Bacchus is identifiable by the band decorated with corymbs fastening his hair.
The composition refers to a famous model for statuary influenced by the works of Praxiteles – the Woburn Abbey Dionysos crated circa 350 BC – depicting a young, naked Dionysos for the first time. The god holds a thyrsus (staff) in his left hand and a canthare (drinking vessel) in his right hand. There are some twenty known copies and variants. In some versions, the god is accompanied by a panther, as was thought to be the case with the Bacchus of the via del Babuino. However, in 1965, the statuette was reunited with its original base, which had found its way into the collections of the New York Metropolitan Museum, thus ruling out this hypothesis.