Dionysos, 1st Century A.D.

Dionysos is the prototype deity of the playing boy. Until the beginnings of the greek classic era, he had been portrayed as a man with a beard. The earliest presentation of the god of ritual dance, song and the art of drama as a young man dates back to a bronze statue which was made in 455 B.C. Since this time, Dionysos appears as a young man.

Dionysos is a controversial figure - god and human, wild and soft, aggressive and submissive, feminine and masculine. Since he is the god of the phallophoric cult festivities, sexual love is an inexhaustible game for him. Since the concept of the sexually active boy has been banned from our culture, scientists have some difficulty in explaining the apparent contradictions characterizing Dionysos.

Was he a hermaphrodite or the god of pederasty? According to the myth, he was a son of Zeus and raised by his mother Semele as a girl since she was afraid that Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, might take revenge on the boy. The myth mirrors the phase of childhood when all children were raised by women without separation between girls and boys.

Many artists have regarded the combination of melancholy and violent rage in Dionysos bordering on ecstasy rhather as a stimulant than a disturbance. The ivied head of the bronze sculpture indicates that it is Dionysos. The rapture expressed by the opened lips is intensified by silvery white of the eye.