Contrapposto Grand Tour figure of Narcissus cast in bronze, 19th century

Dionysus - "Narcissus" 19th Century Bronze Statue After the Antique - Louvre Edition

The Roman original of this sculpture which was found in Pompeii in 1862 is a smaller-than-life-size representation of a young man. The statue depicts the young man standing naked, with soft body shapes, except for the animal skin (nebris) hung around his left shoulder, an ivy wreath in his hair, and lace-up boots. The young man’s gaze is directed downward to the right, and his right hand is raised slightly with an outstretched index finger.

The conventional naming of this statue is “Narcissus,” based on the idea that the young man is looking at his reflection in the water of a spring. This interpretation is supported by the downward gaze and the outstretched finger, which could be seen as an indication of the young man’s fascination with his own reflection.

For further reading on this topic, the following books are suggested:

  1. “The Pleasures of Antiquity: British Collectors of Greece and Rome” (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) by The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art – This book explores the history of British collectors of classical antiquities, including sculptures like the “Narcissus” statue. It delves into the motivations and experiences of these collectors and sheds light on the cultural significance of classical art in Britain.
  2. “Classical Sculpture and the Culture of Collecting in Britain since 1760” (Classical Presences) by Viccy Coltman – This book examines the role of classical sculpture in British culture and society since the 18th century. It discusses how classical sculptures were collected, displayed, and interpreted in Britain, including statues like the “Narcissus” statue.
  3. “Taste and the Antique: Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900” by Francis Haskell & Nicholas Penny – This book provides a comprehensive overview of the fascination with classical sculpture from the Renaissance to the 19th century. It explores how classical sculptures were appreciated, collected, and interpreted during this period, shedding light on the cultural and artistic context of the “Narcissus” statue.

Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

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Contrapposto Grand Tour figure of Narcissus cast in bronze, 19th century

Dionysus – “Narcissus” 19th Century Bronze Statue

Stock Number: 21692

After the antique Louvre edition Bronze of Narcissus with a black-brown patina. The original is approximately 63 cm high and was found in excavations in Pompeii in 1862.



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Approximate Dimensions

  • Diameter: 23 cm (9.06 inches)
  • Height: 61 cm (24.02 inches)



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