Herm of Dionysus
Your browser may not support display of this image.
This is the first art history class I have taken since I was in high school. I know little about art; especially drawing and painting. However, I have developed an interest in the study of art history, how art evolves from the beginning of human history, and lastly how art can be depicted in different points of view.
Visiting the Getty Villa was my first time to see art in an art museum. I did not know how to appreciate an art piece at first but as I wandered around the museum, I became curious about the art work name “Herm of Dionysus.”
This work dates to the Hellenistic Period. At first, this piece of artwork appears mythical and interesting for a person like me who has limited background information of a lot of artwork. Among the number of questions that formed in my mind at the sight of it were, “Why is Dionysus not being displayed in a full human body just like most other statues?” “What is the purpose of attaching the head on top of the pillar?” And “What is the purpose of including a male organ, which seems to be the focus of this piece of artwork?” This leads me to question who “Dionysus” exactly is.
In Greek mythology, Dionysus is known as the god of wine and on the other hand brings joy and divine ecstasy. (Greek Mythology) He is also recognized as the deity of agriculture and theatre. Dionysus is also known as Bacchus. The word derives from the state of frenzy he causes known as “Bakcheia.” He is known to liberate a person from a normal state by the induction of insanity, ecstasy, or wine. One of his abilities includes facilitating communication between the living and the dead. Dionysus’s origin is not exact, but is usually depicted as coming from “foreign origins.” He was one of the gods born from a mortal parent. His mother died before giving birth to him but Zeus, his father, managed to rescue him and carried him on Zeus’ thigh till he was...