Bust of Serapis (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

2nd century AD
bronze (copper alloy with silver inlay)
Overall (without base): 14 9/16 × 7 11/16 × 3 3/4 in. (36.99 × 19.53 × 9.53 cm)
Overall (with base): 18 3/4 × 7 11/16 × 4 in. (47.63 × 19.53 × 10.16 cm)

The cult of Serapis was created by the Ptolemies in Egypt as part of their efforts to blend traditional Egyptian and Greek religion. The god combined the features of the Egyptian gods Apis and Osiris with the iconography of bearded Greek deities such as Zeus and Hades. This bust is based on the cult image in the famous Serapeum (temple of Serapis), which showed Serapis with a modius (grain measure) on his head symbolizing Egypt’s fertility.

The emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211) modeled many of his portraits on Zeus Serapis.

two labels adhered to back of marble base: (1) barcode 01633849, and (2) June 5, 1998, Sale 8900 Lot 182.
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.