Bronze head of a youth

Period: Classical

Date: 3rd quarter of the 5th century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1929

Accession Number: 29.48


This bronze head has an elaborate coiffure with curls of wavy hair held in place by a tightly wrapped thin headband; a square hole at the nape of the neck was probably for the attachment of a ponytail that was worn up. The lips are full, and the heavy lidded eyes are pierced with semicircular holes that originally would have been filled with another medium, perhaps stone, to render a more lifelike appearance. While the figure has been identified as Dionysos on account of its long hair and headband, it may well be another divinity, such as Apollo, or even an athlete.
The head was cast using the direct process of hollow wax casting; furthermore, its thick and uneven interior surface suggests that much of the original modeling was done in wax over the core. Close examination indicates that certain details, like the individual strands of wavy hair, would have been delineated on the wax model and then emphasized with cold working.