Maenad Rending Her Prey


replica: from the British Museum, London

date of the original: 1st century BC to 1st century AD

provenance of the original: now in the British Museum, London

description: Relief depicting a frenzied maenad, draped, grasping a knife over her head in right hand, swinging severed hind quarters of a roe in the left. Resin replica; Roman marble original. Height 42.5 cm, width 22.5 cm, depth 3 cm.

A Hellenistic slab representing a maenad or worshipper of Dionysus in a frenzied state tearing a roe to pieces. Her delicate slim body, apparent under the thin veil which leaves one breast and arm bare, tiptoes gently in a whirl of cloth. Yet she is engaged in ferocious action. She symbolizes the restrained, rational Apollonian attitude together with its antithesis, the emotional, irrational Dionysian (see also: Hermes with the Infant Dionysus).