Ancient Greek Art-Delos Island Museum – Hellenic Sculptures

This room contains many typical examples of late Hellenistic sculpture, from the heyday of Delos, in other words from 166 to 88. The majority of these works adorned private residences, while only a few were made for public buildings or sanctuaries. This era is characterized by an admiration for the sculpture of the Classical period, and even of the Archaic period, and as a consequence led many artists to a sterile imitation of earlier styles and trends, with dubious success. Nevertheless, there are some original works on display here, as well as copies of well-known works of the Classical period, but made by mediocre artists. Most of them date from the second half of the second century and the beginning of the first century.

There is an interesting series of statues on the east side of the room associated with Dionysos: an actor dressed as Silenus holding young Dionysos in his arms; the god Pan shown holding his syrinx (Pan pipes) and with an animal hide thrown over the left shoulder; a Herm with the head of a Satyr; a god sitting upon a nice throne, perhaps Dionysos or Apollo, with a snake beside his left foot, found in the Sanctuary of Dionysos; two actors dressed as Sileni, wearing a goat-skin vest beneath their costumes and holding a wine-skin in the left hand and a tambourine in the right one, also found in the Sanctuary of Dionysos; a Satyr holding a wine-skin; a statuette of a Satyr with a frog. Two Herms with the head of Harpocrates, the first of which is holding the cornucopia, the symbol of abundance, in its right hand. Harpocrates is the Greek form of the Egyptian god Horns and was worshipped as protector of Statue of a Nymph, the house. The head of a goddess that a copy of an original work of the 4′ century. It was found shows a Syrian influence. A Herm in the form of a in the House of Heroes.

Hermaphrodite, from the Theatre District. Another Herm, which was found in the House of Hermes and after which the house was named. This very fine head of Hermes, made in the archaic style and found in 1948, was inspired according to some scholars by Hermes Propylaios by Alkamenes, although some others see an influence from an original work by Kallimachos; notice the perfect styling of the hair and beard. Another Herm made of Pendelic marble, rather badly eroded today, comes from the Propylaia (Propylaios Hermes) and is perhaps a faithful copy of the Hermes Propylaios by Alkamenes from the Acropolis of Athens. A full-size copy of the well-known `Little Herculanean’, a work by Praxiteles, discovered in the Agora of Theophrastos. The statue of a Nymph in very good condition from the House of Hermes; the fact that the left side was much better worked shows from which angle it was on view.

On the west side of the room there is a series of statues associated with the cult of Apollo and Artemis. The largest and most interesting one is the 1,44 m. high statue of Artemis the deer-slayer. The goddess is shown wearing her hunting outfit and holding in her left hand the antlers of a deer that she is about to slay with a spear that she was holding in her right hand, while her left knee holds the animal still. The work is in a very good condition, has movement and well rendered folds of the tunic on which traces of the original coloring remain. Notice the contrast between the violence involved in the act, the strong movement of the body and the expression of serenity on the face of the goddess. The statue of a Nymph, perhaps Amymone, a hand (perhaps Poseidon’s) can be discerned on the right pulling away her garment to reveal her naked back and well-formed buttocks. The statue of a pensive Muse, maybe Polymnia (A 351), from the House of Dionysos; she is shown leaning on some kind of support, with her left hand to her chin. Notice the complexity of her garments and the fine way in which the folds have been worked. A statuette perhaps of Aphrodite, from the House of Hermes, with traces of the original coloring. Another statue of Aphrodite in the style of Praxiteles’ Aphrodite. A headless statue of Apollo, very well preserved, from the House of the Masks. An Apollo from the Theater District, who was holding a guitar in his left hand; some coloring is still visible on his garments. An Artemis with an outstretched right arm, which probably held a bow; the folds of her peplos have been very well rendered, also from the Theater District. A statue probably of Leto from the Theater District. A statue perhaps of the goddess Tyche, who may have held the cornucopia, the symbol of abundance, in her right hand. A headless Artemis wearing a full-length chiton gathered at the waist, the left sleeve falling to the forearm to reveal her naked shoulder, and with a deerskin worn over it. In the southwest corner of the room there is an archaistic relief from the Hellenistic period with Hermes, Athena, Apollo and Artemis, from the House of the Lake. The bodies, hairstyles and garments of the three gods are done in the old archaic style, while the decoration with garlands and bullheads in the upper part of the work are typical of the Hellenistic period.

The large mosaic which covers the entire north wall of the room was found in a house in the Islet of Jewels and was transferred to the museum in 1968 due to its delicate condition. In the center of the mosaic there are three figures: Athena on the left, holding a spear and an owl, Hermes on the right, holding a caduceus, and between them a seated female figure too damaged to be identified. It may have represented Hermes bringing the young Dionysos to the Nymphs. A border with floral motifs, comic masks and bullheads in the four corners, frames the scene. There is also a non-identified portrait in the upper part of the border.