ROMAN RIVER GOD
WESTERN EUROPE, 2ND CENTURY AD
carved marble, a river god shown in the traditional reclining pose, a mantle draped over his hips and legs, his right arm resting on his side, the left laid over an overturned urn, the torso nude with well defined musculature, the long beard and hair evoking the form of aqueous reeds
69cm long Estimate £7,000-9,000 + fees Provenance:
Private collection, Europe, acquired 1980's.
Private collection, Spain.
Private collection, United Kingdom, exported from Spain under export license, with details released to the buyer.
River gods were, as the name suggests, deities believed to embody the great rivers of the ancient world. With a distinctive languid form, they were popular depictions throughout the ancient Mediterranean, where they could be found in wealthy villas or public monuments, normally with their back to a wall as a fountain emerged from an amphora situated on the god's lap. This example, though modelled in the round, was likely used in this context.
Due to their popularity in the provinces (where there was limited access to expert sculptors), many surviving examples appear to be roughly carved. However, this example, with its statuesque majesty, is a fine example of Roman Antonine/Severan period sculpture.
Sold for £8,750
(buyer's premium included)