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Statue of Silenus

1st century (57 CE)

Marble (Vila Viçosa)


This statue depicts Silenus, the tutor and companion of the god Dionysus/Bacchus in Greco-Roman mythology. His reclined position and the fact that he is possibly clutching a wineskin in his left hand (suggested by the opening that can be seen within the hand), denotes the drunken state in which he is often shown.

A quest for naturalistic details is evident in the volumes and folds in the statue's stomach area, the curled locks, and the hair of his beard and pubic area, for which the sculptor would have used a drill.

This piece and another similar were found in the Roman Theatre of Lisbon during the work carried out to reconstruct that area of the city after the 1755 Earthquake. The statue, which is now on display at the Museum of Lisbon – Roman Theatre, was discovered in 1798, after which it was taken to the garden at the house of the Counts of Rio Maior (near Portas de Santo Antão). The other statue went to the National Museum of Archaeology, where it remains to this day.

Find out more in this video

3 Estatua de Sileno Museu de Lisboa.jpg

© Museu de Lisboa