Roman Bronze Candelabrum with Jupiter-Ammun and Bacchus

Roman · ca. 2nd century A.D.




H: 88.0 cm





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This portable tripod candelabrum comes apart into three sections: the three cast sandaled feet are hinged together as a base, then the rectangular shaft, which terminates with a double herm (one of the herm’s ribbed arms loops into an attachment), and the lamp top. Two bearded masks of the herm are modeled in the Archaistic style. One is Jupiter-Ammun with his ram’s horns and ears, decorated with the diadem of ivy leaves and clusters of berries. Another head depicts Bacchus with a long mustache and hair arranged in twisted locks at the sides. Bacchus’ high coiffure is bound in a fillet, the ends of which fall down his shoulders. The heads support a finial with baluster stem and overhanging rim, decorated with egg-and-dart and beading.

The bronze candelabra (lampstand) once belonged to the household furnishings of a Roman villa. To provide the lighting, it has at the top a vase-shaped element supports a circular disk designed to hold an oil lamp. The decoration around the disk includes a decorative pattern of tongues. Many similar stands have been discovered in houses at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Boscoreale, which were destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in A. D. 79. The height of this candelabrum indicates that it was meant to stand on the floor, but shorter, tabletop versions are also known. Originally, ornate metal lamps and lampstands were used to illuminate temples, sanctuaries, and other public spaces. However, by the first century A. D. they had become common household items in wealthy private homes and villas. Elaborate bronze candelabra, such as this one, were transformed from utilitarian objects into extravagant showpieces.


A few scratches; remains of oxides.


Art market, prior to 2001;

Sotheby’s, New York, 12 June 2001, lot 103;

The Gilbert collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts, acquired in New York, 12 June 2001.


Sotheby’s, New York, 12 June 2001, lot 103;

The Gilbert Collection, By Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva, New York, 2019, pp. 116, 258, no. 215.


La Biennale Paris, 13-17 September 2019;

PAD London, 2-6 October 2019