Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Although the study of public statuary has often overshadowed sculptural pieces discovered in the private context, an examination of domestic sculpture has much to contibute to our knowledge of Roman private life. This thesis examines the sculptural repertoires of Venus, Hercules, Dionysus and his thiasos in an effort to understand the nature of mythological figures in private collections of statuary. The artistic antecedents, sculptural types, placement and function are examined in Pompeii's private context, revealing some interesting commonalities. The religious function of statuary is also addressed, with emphasis on those examples associated with aediculae, niches, and altars.
Chapter 1 examines the goddess Venus' connection with the garden, focusing on sculptural representations of the deity in the gardens of Pompeii. Although the Italic goddess was associated with vegetation, it is the Greek form of the deity which appears in the context of the garden. Semi-draped versions of Venus at Pompeii often depict the goddess in connection with her bath. Several of the statuary types found in the gardens of Pompeii are adaptations of Hellenistic prototypes.
Chapter 2 briefly discusses the hero Hercules' Greek background and transition to Rome. Despite an extremely large atiistic repertoire, it was the Hellenistic prototype created by Lysippos which Roman copyists adapted for display in the Roman garden. Among the statuettes of the hero discovered at Pompeii are examples which may have functioned as religious images.
Chapter 3 discusses representations of Dionysus and his thiasos in the gardens of Pompeii, outlining the god's Greek background and connection with the region. While only three representations of the deity have been discovered in the domestic context, there are numerous examples of his Hellenistic thiasos. The final chapter provides an analysis of all three sculptural repertoires, emphasizing the artistic trends, and placement as an indication of function.
Kennedy, Allison R., "DOMESTIC STATUARY AT POMPEII: THE SCULPTURAL REPERTOIRES OF VENUS, HERCULES, AND DIONYSUS" (2004). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6384.
McMaster University Library