Michelangelo’s Bacchus


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The Bacchus sculpture was created between 1496 to 1497. Along with the Pieta, this is one of the only two sculptures from Michelangelo’s first period in Rome that still survive today. The original statue depicts Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and is more than life-size. It was originally commissioned to stand in the garden of Cardinal Raffaele Riario. He intended to showcase it amidst his collection of classical sculptures. However, it was rejected by Cardinal Riario, and by 1506 made its way to the collection of Jacopo Galli. Galli, as friend to Michelangelo and banker to both him and the Cardinal, hosted the statue in his own garden near the Palazzo della Cancelleria. Eventually, it was relocated to Florence for the Medici family in 1572.


Dimensions 8 × 9.5 × 24 in

One of Michelangelo’s Defining Early Works

In the sculpture, Bacchus is depicted in a somewhat giddy pose that is suggestive of being drunk. It has a notable androgynous quality to it as well and includes much of the iconography associated with the god. In his right hand, Bacchus holds a goblet of wine, and in his left, he has the skin of a tiger and a bunch of grapes. Next to Bacchus is a satyr, or “faun,” who eats the grapes slipping out of his hand.

From the House of Michelangelo

Michelangelo’s Bacchus is a marble sculpture. The piece showcased here is a bronze limited edition authorized by Casa Buonarroti, the sole holders of the artist’s “droits moral,” or moral rights. They alone can sanction replications of Michelangelo’s work. This statue was cast from a mold of the original Bacchus, verified by Casa Buonarroti. At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we make it possible to bring Bacchus home in this limited edition, authorized bronze that is 8 × 9.5 × 24 inches.

Buy this and other limited editions of Michelangelo’s work at Marcus Ashley Gallery. We have a number of special services to delight art owners and give you the best experience possible. Contact our art consultants today to learn more.