Grand Tour Bronze Figures of Young Male as Dionysus


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Object Description

A very decorative ‘Grand Tour’ patinated bronze figure of a young man, representing Dionysus. By the Sommer foundry, Naples.
Italy, late 19th century

Great quality, original ‘verdi-gris’ patination.

Beautifully cast after the original at the Naples Archeological Museum,  this handsome figure  reflects the Ancient Greek ideal of beauty.
Dionysus is the god of wine and dance, of irrationality and chaos, representing passion, emotions and instincts. Just as his Roman conterpart Bacchus, Dionysus is associated with sensuality, please and abandon. The Ancient Greeks did not consider the two gods to be opposites or rivals – they were entwined by nature. 
Coveted by the 19th century intellectuals and aesthetes, such exquisite objects were not mere decorations, but symbols of their owner’s classical values and refined taste. 

The statue of Dionysus (previously misidentified as Narcissus) is a copy of the original bronze, discovered in 1862 in the Vicolo del Balcon Pensile in Pompeii, now preserved in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples. 

Oscar Wilde, whose London home was filled with classical statuary, displayed one like this prominently on his mantelpiece.

Object History

The Sommer Foundry
Chiurazzi, De Angelis and Sommer where the main Neapolitan foundries that catered for the needs and tastes of the grand-tourists throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The latter was founded by by Giorgio Sommer, a well-known photographer and artisan of German origin. He founded his studio in Naples in 1857 and starting from the 1870s began the production of bronze and terracotta copies of ancient sculptures. Three different types of patination were available, the most common being the “Herculaneum”, “dark green and almost shiny” patina, the “Pompeii”, “green and blue not burnished”, and the “Renaissance”, “brown, shiny, burnished”. The present figure displays its original ‘Pompeii’ patination.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

(07551) 297389
+447551297389 | +447586602796

Dealer Location

Private showroom open by appointment

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