Aristaeus was the divine son of the god Apollo and the nymph Cyrene. He was known in the ancient world as the founder and patron deity of the city of Cyrene in Libya, a Greek colony in North Africa. This head, from a colossal statue, portrays the god with a rather bland face surrounded by tousled asymmetrical curls, which are given dramatic life by being carved in high relief. On Aristaeus's head is a mural crown—a round flat-topped headdress with four vertical raised strips, perhaps intended to represent the defensive towers of the city walls. The enormous statue could have stood in a temple in Cyrene dedicated to Aristaeus.
Artist Roman
Artist after Greek
  • Roman Head of a Male Deity, Perhaps Aristaeus
Date 2nd century CE
Medium marble
Dimensions Overall: 24 × 14 × 16 inches (61 × 35.6 × 40.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund
Accession Number 41.9
Department Greco-Roman and Ancient European
Not On View
(Joseph Brummer);
1941-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 20, no. 8 (1941): p. 73 (ill.).

"An Obsession With Fortune: Tyche In Greek And Roman Art." Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1994): no. 35, p. 113 (ill. fig.14), p. 29; p. 28, note 48 p. 33.

A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts, ed. Julia P. Henshaw. Detroit, 1995, p. 112 (ill.).