Acquired in 2009, the “Lansdowne Dionysus” returns to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) after a sojourn at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Antiquities Conservation Department.
The over life-size fragment weighs in at over 900 lbs and dates from somewhere between 100-150 CE. As the statue is missing its head and most of its limbs, its identification as Dionysis, God of Wine, was made via his apparel.
Originally unearthed from a bog at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli in the mid-1700s, the sculpture was discovered along with many other marble treasures from classical antiquity. Like his compatriot, the “Lansdowne Heracles,” who resides permanently at the Getty Villa, the “Dionysus” was purchased in the late 1700s by the first Marquess of Lansdowne, a British statesman and avid art collector.
The sculpture has been painstaking restored, in a collaborative effort between the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Getty Villa.
Conservators had to contend with not only the passage of centuries, but also damaging restoration that had taken place over previous years.
“Lansdowne Dionysus” was acquired during the dispersal of the estate of Wright Ludington, prominent patron and one of the founders of the SBMA. The sculpture resided for many years in the garden of Ludington’s Montecito, Calif., home. It is now on display in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Ludington Court, joining the “Lansdowne Hermes,” also on view.
(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)