Marble relief with a dancing maenad by Kallimachos, Greek and Roman ArtMedium: Marble, Pentelic
Fletcher Fund, 1935 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Roman, ca. 27 B.C–A.D. 14
Copy of a Greek relief of ca. 425–400 B.C. attributed to Kallimachos
Maenads were mythical women inspired by the god of wine, Dionysos, to abandon their homes and families and roam the mountains and forests, singing and dancing in a state of ecstatic frenzy.
This figure, wearing an ivy wreath and carrying a thyrsos (fennel stalk) bedecked with ivy leaves and berries, moves forward, trancelike, her drapery swirling about her.
She was copied from a famous relief of dancing maenads dated to the late fifth century B.C., when Euripides portrayed the manic devotées of Dionysos in his play the Bacchae.