Pair of Busts of Silenus, 1st century B.C./1st century A.D.
Bronze, silver and copper
1: 17.8 x 14.6 x 8.6 cm (7 x 5 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.); 2: 18.7 x 16.2 x 8.9 cm (7 3/8 x 6 3/8 x 4 1/2 in.)
Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund, 1997.554.1-2
These part-human, part-goat silenoi (sing. silenus) represented the hedonistic desires of mankind released by the magical elixir of the wine god Dionysos. Each figure is made of two pieces that were cast separately and fastened together. The whites of their eyes and their teeth are silver. Further, their lips were once inlaid with copper. With these additions, the silenoi took on a very lifelike appearance. Only short, thin struts of metal anchor the lush wreaths that encircle their heads. These magnificent silenoi once decorated the sides of the curved headboard of an elaborate couch used by diners at the lavish banquets that were popular pastimes for members of high society.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient Art Galleries, Gallery 156, 1998 - July 11, 2009 and September 20, 2009- February 2012.
A Case for Wine: From King Tut to Today
July 11 – September 20, 2009. Regenstein Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago
Treasures from the Art Institute of Chicago. (Chicago, 2000) AIC, p. 73, ill.
Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report, 1997-8, p. 12
Manchester, Karen. 2012. Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago, pp.76-77(cat.15), 112. Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press.