Statue of Dionysos leaning on a female figure ("Hope Dionysos")

Restored by Pacetti, Vincenzo

Period: Augustan or Julio-Claudian

Date: 27 B.C.–A.D. 68

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 82 3/4 in. (210.2 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of The Frederick W. Richmond Foundation, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, and Mr. and Mrs. A. Alfred Taubman, 1990

The cleaning and restoration of this sculpture was made possible by a generous grant from the Edward John Noble Foundation, Inc

Accession Number: 1990.247


This monumental marble statue was named the Hope Dionysos after its former owner, Thomas Philip Hope. The figure of Dionysos is shown standing at ease with his left arm resting on an archaistic female figure traditionally identified as Spes, the personification of hope. He wears a panther skin over his chiton and a cloak wrapped around his upper right arm and shoulder. Part of the cloak trails down the right side and part of it loops around the back of the god and over the head of the archaistic support.
The archaistic female figure stands frontally with her feet together on a base that has been restored as a roughly hewn, blocklike pedestal. With her left hand, she pulls the lower part of her garment to one side. Her right arm, bent and extended toward the viewer, is restored as holding the bud of a lotus blossom. She wears a long, diagonal himation and a floor-length chiton. The heavy central pleat down the front of her himation and the V-folds near her neckline are retrospective elements, specifically archaistic, which look back to Archaic korai. Her coiffure consists of drilled Archaic snail-like curls over wavy hair that is parted down the middle, and two long spiral tresses that fall over each shoulder. Her facial features, however, recall those of sculpture dated to the first quarter of the fifth century B.C. (the Severe style), more than those of sculpture dated to the Archaic period. The figure's costume, hairstyle, and particularly her pose recall representations of Spes, who is usually depicted as a kore in an archaistic himation, holding a bud, either open or closed, in her right hand.
The torso and head of Dionysos, and most of the archaistic figure are Roman. However, the head was joined to the torso by the sculptor and restorer Vincenzo Pacetti, who also provided arms, lower legs, and other details to complete the composition. This torso and a copy at the Hermitage Museum are the most important Roman replicas of a Greek sculptural type of the second quarter of the fourth century B.C. Only four other fragmentary variants are recorded. The high quality of workmanship and good condition make the torso central to the study of this neglected sculptural type, and the decorative restorations document the taste of a notable period in the history of collecting antiquities.