Household god (lar)
Unknown artist, Roman
Household god (lar), late 3rd century-early 4th century
Height: 17.5 cm (6 7/8 inches)
Anonymous gift 62.061
In ancient Rome, small bronze protective household deities (lares) were grouped in shrines (lararia) throughout the house. This bronze is a well-preserved example of this statue type; only the fingertips and the thumb of the outstretched hand are missing, along with the object his right hand would have held, most likely a cornucopia or drinking horn (rhyton). Under the rear of the skirt a rectangular hole leads to a cavity in the body, suggesting that this lar was cast around a core using the direct method of hollow lost-wax casting.
Traces of gilding can be observed in the folds of the skirt, on the top of the hair and wreath, and on the underside of the skirt. The vertical channels below the sash indicate that the costume also featured inlaid copper strips. Despite the attention paid to this bronze’s surface during antiquity, a casting flaw remains visible in the skirt above the right knee. The surface pitting, however, is most likely not from ancient processes, but rather the result of chemical solvents used by early conservators.
Contributions byMitten, David Gordon
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design., 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections