The Rites of Dionysus sculpture
Find this Bacchanalian artwork amid the grapevines in our Mediterranean Biome.
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Tim Shaw’s sculptures depict the myth of Dionysus, Greek god of the vines, and his followers, the Maenads, who dance and writhe through the vines beating drums and sounding trumpets.
Dionysus is shown here as a raging bull, but in ancient Greek myths his wild, untamed nature is often personified as a virile young man, a lion or a serpent. He was later known as Bacchus by the Romans. The story goes that he started out with good intentions as the god of vegetation, but things changed when he went from growing the vine to drinking its fermented juices!
The Dionysian myths are amongst the oldest and most potent stories that link mankind with nature. Not only do they serve as an insight into ancient civilisations, but they also articulate truths of human nature that resonate with veracity to this day – beneath the veneer of everyday society lie dark and powerful forces of unpredictable magnitude. We chose to commission Dionysus so he could sit between the wild and cultivated lands, a reminder of the need for balance, a reminder of how delicate that balance is.