Rare Bronze Statue of Young Dionysos Comes to Chicago

Rare Bronze Statue of Young Dionysos Comes to Chicago
Hellenistic or Roman, Eastern Mediterranean. Statue of Young Dionysos, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100. Bronze, copper and silver (modern). 135.8 x 62 x 52 cm (54 x 24 1/2 x 20 in.). Anonymous loan, 1.2013. Photography by Richard Valencia.

The Art Institute of Chicago announced today that they have received the gift of a long-term loan of the Statue of Young Dionysos.  The statue is one of the very few existing large-scale bronze sculptures from antiquity in North America.

What makes this acquisition of special interest to Show Me Chicago is that Dionysos (son of Zeus) was the Greek god of wine and theater who was celebrated widely with festivals and performances  throughout the Mediterranean.  Methinks, Dionysos should be right at home in Chicago with our world class theater, wonderful wines and our numerous festivals.

The condition, realism, technical prowess, and delicacy of this sculpture make it the most significant addition to the Art Institute’s classical galleries ever, according to Karen Manchester, the chair and curator of ancient art in the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art, who coordinated the loan, research, and installation of the sculpture.

Although, no name was released for the generous loan, Museum President, Douglas Druick, explains  “the reason that the Art Institute of Chicago is able to display this magnificent, full-length, and remarkably complete bronze Statue of Young Dionysos is due to the extraordinary generosity of a friend of the museum, to whom we are deeply grateful.”

The ancient statue, which dates back between 100 B.C. to A.D. 100, now anchors the museum’s new Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art in Gallery 150.

Statue Stats…

The Statue of Young Dionysos stands four and one-half feet tall.  It depicts the deity as an idealized nude youth in a relaxed pose, the weight of his body supported by his left leg. His right arm is raised to support perhaps a bunch of grapes or a wine cup; his left may have held a staff topped with a pinecone. Very realistically rendered, the sculpture was originally the color of deep golden bronze before acquiring its green patina.  Analysis suggests that the whites of the eyes were formed with silver-toned metal, and his lips were inlaid with copper, which was also used to form his nipples.

Museum Admission:


  • Chicago residents: $18.00 ($5.00 discount from base $23.00 fee)
  • Illinois residents: $20.00 ($3.00 discount from base $23.00 fee)
  • Out-of-state visitors: $23.00

Students and seniors:

  • Chicago residents: $12.00 ($6.00 discount from base $18.00 fee)
  • Illinois residents: $14.00 ($6.00 discount from base $20.00 fee)
  • Out-of-state visitors: $17.00 ($6.00 discount from base $23.00 fee)

Free admission:

  • Children under 14
  • Museum members
  • Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Hours and Location:

  • The Museum is located at 111 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Hours are Daily: 10:30–5:00, Thursdays until 8:00
  • Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s days.

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