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Artist Culture
Greek, c.900–31 BC
or Roman
Late Hellenistic, 323–31 BC
Imperial period, 27 BC–AD 330
mid-1st century BC–mid-1st century AD
Bronze with silver inlay
Roman Empire, Egypt, Africa
Metalwork, sculpture
Current Location
On View, Gallery 259
height: 24 3/4 in. (62.9 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This sculpture’s sturdy figure, solid stance, and mature face are at odds with the idea of a helpless, innocent child. Made at a time when accurate depictions of age, both old and young, were popular, this sculpture seems somehow supernatural and suggests a mythological figure rather than an anonymous depiction of an infant. Zeus, king of the gods, had two sons, Herakles and Dionysus who were sometimes depicted as babies. The infant, Herakles survived an assassination attempt by gleefully strangling the snakes sent to his bed. Baby Dionysus was fostered as an infant far from the prying eyes of Zeus’s jealous wife, Hera. Without the arms or any characteristic attributes, it is impossible to securely identify who this sculpture represents.
- 1926
Ercole Canessa, New York, NY, USA [1]

1926 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Ercole Canessa [2]

[1] The dealer is recorded as Ercole Canessa of New York on the Saint Louis Art Museum accession record, the minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, and in a letter written by a Museum staff member in 1968. Presumably Ercole Canessa was a representative of C. & E. Canessa Antiquaires.

[2] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, April 9, 1926.
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